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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 290 > Life of Ryan

Life of Ryan

NOT MANY SPORTS ARE PERCEIVED AS MORE LADDISH THAN FOOTBALL, SO COMING OUT WITHIN THE INDUSTRY WOULD BE A BIG DEAL FOR ANYONE. ONE MAN WHO HAS IS REFEREE RYAN ATKIN. BUT IS HE WHISTLING IN THE WIND?

The closet can be a dark place. But in football there’s a closet within a closet. Most players who’ve been questioned on the subject say they don’t even know of any gay footballers. So, when anyone connected with the beautiful game decides to come out, they should be celebrated as a hero.

Step forward referee Ryan Atkin. In August this year, he took the plunge and told the world about his sexuality, becoming the first professional football referee to do so. Operating at National League South level, he’s five tiers below the big time, but his ambition is to be officiating in the Premier League in the future.

Ryan describes coming out as the “toughest” thing he’s ever done, but now that it’s behind him, can he answer a question lots of us would like to ask: just how homophobic is football?

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About Attitude

This month, the Masculinity issue! On the cover, Jake Shears is back! Plus, Shamir on androgyny, comedian Stephen Bailey, gay footie referee Ryan Atkin, bottom shaming, and LOADS MORE on what masc means to gay men.
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