Aaron Ramsdale, a goalkeeper for Arsenal and England’s national soccer team, is talking for the first time about his gay brother, and most importantly his love and support for him.
In a Players Tribune post, Ramsdale shares his recent struggles about his wife’s miscarriage, in addition to his need to talk publicly about his gay brother and offer him support.
My brother is gay, and he’s lived his life in an open and authentic way since he went off to school. I’m so proud to say he’s my brother. I haven’t talked about it before, but with everything going on in football right now, I thought it was important to mention. Oliver is a lot like me, in many ways. He’s a regular bloke. Loves football. Loves knocking about with his mates. Loves the Gunners. He’s proud of me, and I’m really proud of him.
Over the years, I’ve probably bit my tongue a few too many times — both in dressing rooms and on social media — whenever I hear homophobic comments or stupid things being said. And I think maybe my brother has done the same, thinking it would make my life easier.
Well, all that ends today.
He said one of the reasons he’s sharing this is to move the needle in English soccer, where still many LGBTQ people — players, managers, fans — still feel uncomfortable.
I want this game I love to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I want my brother, Ollie — or anyone of any sexuality, race or religion — to come to games without having to fear abuse.
And when we lift a trophy at the Emirates Stadium, I want my brother there with me.
While this isn’t a gay athlete coming out in the Premier League, Ramsdale’s expression of love for his gay brother does help. Now anyone in a locker room with him will have to think extra hard about their language, which can sometimes devolve into heteronormativity or even casual homophobia.
Here’s hoping his words reach LGBTQ people across English football.