TOP 12 SPORTS PERSONALITIES

In alphabetical order

This category is for sportspersons that are either LGBT+ or have proven to be strong advocates of the LGBT+ community in sport.

Falmer,,Brighton,,East,Sussex,/,United,Kingdom,-,April,28

BETH MEAD

Beth is a footballer who plays for Arsenal and England. She was a national hero in 2022, netting six goals in the Euros and leading England to victory on home turf. Her outstanding performance earned her the Golden Boot, Player of the Tournament and Top Assist titles. She was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the first women’s footballer to win. She also finished runner-up for the Ballon d’Or and Uefa Player of the Year. Beth has been praised for her commitment to inspiring young women to play football, taking part in Uefa’s #WePlayStrong campaign. She recently starred in Sky doc Step by Step, which details the injury recovery of both Beth and her partner, and teammate, Vivianne Miedema.

CELIA QUANSAH

Leicester Tigers Women player Celia stood out in athletics during her teenage years, even competing alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill in the heptathlon at the British Championships. Celia didn’t take up rugby until she was 21 when she was scouted while studying at Loughborough University and joined Loughborough Lightning’s Premier 15s team. Fast-forward four years and she’s thriving in the sevens squad, having been part of England’s triumphant Olympic campaign in Kazan.

LGBT History (2)
LGBT History (2)

CHARLIE MARTIN

Charlie is a British racing driver and trans rights activist who competes in endurance racing. The Leicester-born motorsports expert is on a mission to become the first trans competitor in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “People will say it shouldn’t be a big deal that a driver is transgender, but I think it’s important that people in those positions should be visible,” she noted in 2018. In 2019, Charlie was announced as Stonewall’s first Sports Ambassador and, in 2021, Vogue included her in Vogue 25, which was a celebration of inspirational women shaping society that year and beyond.

COLIN JACKSON

Over his two-decade career, Colin clinched nearly every title athletics had to offer. He was crowned world champion twice, in 1993 and 1999, setting a new world record during his first victory. He bagged a bronze in his debut World Championship, followed by a silver in 1997. Throughout his career, he remained undefeated at the European Championships, making him one of only four athletes to have clinched four consecutive titles there. Post- retirement, Jackson turned to coaching and is a regular member of the BBC athletics commentary team

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DAME KELLY HOLMES

Dame Kelly was the toast of the 2022 British LGBT Awards, attending the star-studded ceremony just days after coming out. The middle-distance runner overcame injury to clinch double Olympic gold at 34, becoming the oldest woman to win either the 800m or the 1,500m, let alone both, in Athens at the 2004 Games. Today, Kelly continues to represent Great Britain’s sporting legacy abroad and advocates for children’s sports. Since retiring, she has published multiple books and routinely appears on TV shows such as Loose Women. In 2005, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).

JAKUB JANKTO

Jakub is a Czech professional footballer who currently plays for Serie A club Cagliari (his former clubs have included Sampdoria and Udinese) and the Czech Republic national team. He made history in February 2023 when he announced via a video published on his social media channels that he was gay – becoming the first, and sadly thus far only, active senior international men’s footballer to do so. A message at the end of the video read: “This is not entertainment. The purpose of this video is to encourage others.” His moving message was lauded as a “watershed moment” for the men’s game.

Turin,,Italy,-,September,20,,2020:,Jakub,Jankto,Looks,On
LGBT History (2)

JEFF MOLINA

Jeff is an American mixed martial artist who competes in the Flyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His professional record boasts an impressive 11 wins out of 13 matches – including eight by knockout or submission. He made history by coming out as bisexual in March 2023, becoming the first LGBTQ+ male UFC fighter. During his fight with Zhalgas Zhumagulov, he wore UFC Pride Month shorts to support the LGBTQIA+ Center of Southern Nevada, which benefits from the sales of UFC Pride Month T-shirts.

JESS CARTER

A vital member of the England squad that clinched the Euro 2022 title at Wembley, Jess, a central defender, played a crucial role in the group stage match against Northern Ireland and impressed throughout the tournament. In 2017, she was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year and named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year. Jess is now a regular in the Chelsea team, where she has won multiple WSL titles, including this year, and League Cups. She was also part of the England team that won the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup in 2022.

Leeds,,England,-,June,24,2022:,Jess,Carter,For,England
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JILL SCOTT

Jill is one of England’s heroes both on and off the pitch. She was a member of the Lionesses squad that won the Euros and amassed 150+ caps in her illustrious career. Like many of her England colleagues, Jill won every domestic title with Manchester City. Since retiring in 2022, she has embarked on a successful media career. She won I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and in 2023 became the first female player to captain England for Soccer Aid. She routinely appears on shows like A League of Their Own and, in 2020, was awarded an MBE for services to women’s football.

LIANNE SANDERSON

Serial winner Lianne won 50 caps for England and played in the WSL for Arsenal and Chelsea before moving to America. There, she enjoyed a lengthy career on the pitch with teams like D.C. United before retiring in Italy after winning the Serie A title with Juventus. At international level, Sanderson made her debut for England in May 2006 and was part of the England squad at the 2007 World Cup and Euro 2009. Since hanging up her boots in 2018, Lianne has pursued a career in media and punditry, and can often be heard on TalkSport.

LGBT History (2)
LGBT History (2)

LLOYD WILSON

Lloyd made history in 2022 after coming out on the same day as fellow referee Craig Napier in an attempt to create change, following on from the actions of players Jake Daniels and Josh Cavallo. Lloyd said he felt football and ready for more people to come out and is confident the sport is headed on the right path to being more inclusive. Despite fearing a backlash, the Scottish referee’s decision to make his sexuality public was with positive feedback, affirming his choice. He is now calling on anyone else in the football community struggling with their identity to follow suit.

THOMAS HITZLSPERGER

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas enjoyed an illustrious career with the Birmingham club, followed by long stints with VfB Stuttgart and shorter ones with Lazio, Everton and West Ham. The powerful player earned 52 caps while representing the German national team and won the Bundesliga with Stuttgart in 2007, later becoming their head of sport. In 2014, just months after retiring, Thomas made history when he became the highest-profile former footballer to come out. His teammates supported him and his bravery still inspires other sports stars today.

LGBT History (2)