Speculation about players is toxic

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  • The Sun has printed a story speculating about a Premier League player’s sexuality
  • Stonewall was approached for comment which they failed to print
  • Stonewall’s comment is in full below plus further thoughts on why speculation must stop

Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: ‘While there is still work to do to make sport truly inclusive, speculation over players’ sexual orientation is one thing we really need to stop.

It’s not only unhelpful, it can be harmful and potentially dangerous. Coming out must always be a personal decision. No one should feel pressured to come out.

‘Our Rainbow Laces campaign focuses on getting allies to come out in support of LGBT equality, it’s not about getting LGBT people to come out publicly.

Guessing and making judgements about why people don’t come out ignores the many valid reasons someone may have for not being open about their sexuality to everyone in their life.

‘We know that attitudes in football need to change before everyone feels free to be themselves, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sport more inclusive – including the media. For a positive shift to happen it’s vital that allies come out in support of LGBT rights and make sport a more comfortable and accepting environment for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

‘The more support there is, the easier it will become for athletes to be open about their sexuality, if they choose to. It is not the role of the media to ‘choose’ whether to out someone as indicated in today’s Sun article.

‘Footballers coming out isn’t a sign of success or progress taken in isolation. How the media reports on this subject is a huge part of changing our culture, and today’s article shows how far we have to go.

Being a good ally means actively supporting, championing and promoting an inclusive culture for all LGBT people. It’s also understanding why speculation is so toxic and irresponsible.

‘Let’s not pretend this is a normal kiss and tell story, it’s kiss and threat.

If you love the game, and care about the players, be an ally and condemn this story.

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