This week, Simon caught up with Ryan Atkin, who is currently the only openly gay professional referee in English men's football. After coming out in 2017, Ryan has become an LGBT+ in sport advocate, Stonewall Sports Champion, and diversity and inclusion campaigner.
Simon and Ryan's wide-ranging conversation touched on a number of topics, including:
- The progress being made in sport around mental health awareness
- The pressures of being a football official and dealing with abuse online and in real life
- Ryan's day job and how diversity and inclusion in the workplace can improve creative thinking and find better solutions
- How coming out as gay allowed him to bring his 'whole self' to work and made him a better referee
They also touched on Christmas, the best song to see in the new year, and how having things to look forward to can make all the difference.
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More on Ryan: twitter.com/ryantatkin
Ryan's article coming out in 2017: skysports.com/football/news/11095/10946185/referee-ryan-atkin-on-being-gay-in-football-rainbow-laces-and-lgbt-inclusion
'Being gay has made me a better referee': telegraph.co.uk/football/2019/04/22/ryan-atkin-gay-has-made-better-referee/
More on Simon: twitter.com/Simonablake
Simon Blake OBE is the Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. His mission is to improve the mental health of the nation and help build an inclusive and society where attitudes and behaviours around mental health are normalised. Simon received an OBE in 2011, is Deputy Chair at Stonewall, and enjoys running, equestrian eventing, and walks with his dog.
More on #JACPodcast:
MHFA England: mhfaengland.org
Email: [email protected]