Beth Mead

Arsenal and England forward Beth Mead has spoken openly about her sexuality, and hopes that by setting an example she can help bridge the gap between LGBTQ+ discussions in the men’s game.

Mead was a key figure on the field this summer, helping England to a first major tournament victory in 56 years.

She ended up as not only the tournament’s top goalscorer but the Player of the Tournament as well in a summer to remember for Mead and women’s football in England.

And now, Mead has opened up in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports as she looks to help bridge the gap between LGBTQ+ discussions in the men’s game.

“When I was growing up, where I came from, there weren’t many people I knew that were openly gay or bisexual,” she told Sky Sports. “My parents, at the time, maybe struggled in the beginning and it was something that was hard for me to say.

“I really struggled for a long time, whether it was just maybe a phase or thoughts, but it wasn’t anything that I wanted to act upon. But, I get how difficult it is for some people and I get that it is not always socially accepted.

She added: “Especially in the women’s game it is more the norm.

“Actually, I’ve never physically come out and said I’m gay, I’m with a girl because I’ve not had to. I’m just being me. I’ve put pictures with my partner on social media. To me, I’ve tried to make it the normal rather than make it a statement.

“Obviously for the men right now, they have to put it out in the media to then see what reaction they get and I get the culture in the men’s game is still very different and it is much, much harder. But for me, I want to bridge that gap and help the men as much as the women.

“It’s a tough process. It is emotionally and physically draining, and I get all aspects for people, but for me, you can’t help who you fall in love with and if you are happy at the end of the day.

“You’ve just got to be happy. Life can be very short.”

Mead will be back in domestic action on Friday when Arsenal kick off their Women’s Super League campaign against Brighton at Meadow Park.

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