A football manager and referee has spoken out about the homophobic abuse she has been subjected to in a bid to tackle anti-gay behaviour in sport.
Mel Blackmore – manager of Hitchin Town Ladies – recounted being verbally abused after sending someone off while refereeing a men’s game.
“He didn’t like the decision so he started throwing abuse at me about my sexuality,” she told the BBC.
Blackmore discussed her experiences as a gay woman in sport as football clubs across Hertfordshire spoke out against homophobia as part of LGBT History Month.
Hertfordshire Police said homophobia had been “historically prevalent in the game both on the stands and on the pitch”.
Fellow football star Abby Wambach also recently discussed being an out woman in the sport – after Mattel announced plans to make a Barbie doll of the star in honour of her career.
Wambach is one of the most visible out female sports stars in America, having helped win two Olympic gold medals and the Women’s World Cup champion – and has been named US Soccer Athlete of the Year six times.
The player says she has always been open about her sexuality – and married her longtime partner Sarah Huffman, in Hawaii in 2013.
Last year, Britain’s only openly gay footballer said it is time for more players to come out, as the sport is ready for more stars to be honest about their sexuality.
Currently, non-league star Liam Davis is the only openly gay professional or semi-professional footballer in Great Britain.
The Gainsborough Trinity player also said that he believes that the media interest surrounding the story is a good thing – as it “shows that it [coming out] is going to be accepted.
“The media are pushing it and that is a positive thing,” he said.
“If the media are pushing it then it means that it is going to be accepted, which should make someone feel more comfortable about doing it.”
In October, it was reported that two top flight footballers – including an England international – were considering revealing their sexuality before the next football season.