England women’s football team captain and Arsenal Ladies defender Casey Stoney has for the first time admitted publicly about being gay.
The 31-year-old said in an interview with BBC Sport, that the positive reaction to diver Tom Daley divulging his sexuality and because of the “loving relationship” that she is in, has persuaded her to come out and declare her sexuality.
“I was living a lie,” Stoney said. “I’ve never hidden it within football circles because it is accepted.”
“But to the outside world, I’ve never spoken about my sexuality.”
The Arsenal Ladies defender added, “I feel it’s really important for me to speak out as a gay player because there are so many people struggling who are gay, and you hear about people taking their own lives because they are homosexual. That should never happen.”
“How can I expect other people to speak about themselves if I’m not willing to do that myself?”
Stoney, who has 116 caps for England had also captained Great Britain in the London Olympics, said that decision to come out “took a long while” to get to, but also that “a huge weight” has been lifted from her shoulders.
She said: “For the last 10 years I’ve always cared too much what other people think. I was frightened of the stereotypes, frightened of being judged, frightened of what other people might say, especially the abuse you can get through social media.
“But I think I’m in a place where I feel so comfortable in my own skin, I feel so loved by the person I’m with, that I feel I can face anything.”
Stoney also revealed the lengths that she had to go to in order to keep her private life a secret while also speaking about why other gay women footballers are afraid to come out.