Aaron Ramsdale ready to fight homophobia after years 'biting his tongue'

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Aaron Ramsdale has announced he is ready to join the fight against homophobia (Image: Arsenal FC)
Aaron Ramsdale has announced he is ready to join the fight against homophobia (Image: Arsenal FC)

Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale has insisted he is ready to join the fight against homophobia after "biting his tongue" too many times.

The England international's middle brother is gay, with Ramsdale having been sent homophobic abuse targeting him in the past. And the Gunners keeper believes he has kept quiet for too long on an issue that is plaguing the game.

The start of 2023 saw an explosion in incidents of homophobic chanting, with the FA now taking action against clubs whose fans are caught. Those fans are also now being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service for homophobic hate crimes.

And Ramsdale is now ready to help with the fight to rid football of its homophobia problem. He hailed his brother Oliver for his bravery and insisted that he will no longer stay silent against homophobic abuse.

"My brother is gay, and he’s lived his life in an open and authentic way since he went off to school. I’m so proud to say he’s my brother. I haven’t talked about it before, but with everything going on in football right now, I thought it was important to mention," Ramsdale told the Players' Tribune.

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"Oliver is a lot like me. He’s a regular bloke. Loves football. Loves knocking about with his mates. Loves the Gunners. He’s proud of me, and I’m really proud of him. Over the years, I’ve probably bit my tongue a few too many times - both in dressing rooms and on social media - whenever I hear homophobic comments or stupid things being said.

"And I think maybe my brother has done the same, thinking it would make my life easier. Well, all that ends today. I can already hear the comments. 'Oh shut up, Ramsdale. Stick to football, lad.' But this is about football. Football is for everyone.

Aaron Ramsdale ready to fight homophobia after years 'biting his tongue'Ramsdale's brother Oliver is an openly gay man (Instagram/@oliverramsdale)

"If you disagree, maybe you’re the one who needs to shut up and look in the mirror. I want this game I love to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I want my brother, Ollie - or anyone of any sexuality, race or religion - to come to games without having to fear abuse."

The Gay Gooners, Arsenal's LGBT+ fan group have hailed the keeper. In a post on Twitter, they wrote: "We're so very proud to have Aaron Ramsdale as a true ally and for being so brave to talk about such important issues. We can't wait to be cheering you on this season Aaron!"

Ramsdale's intervention comes at a time when football's LGBT+ fans were hit by the bodyblow by seeing Jordan Henderson, previously the community's biggest ally in the professional game, move to Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by the death penalty.

Henderson faced a fierce backlash for his decision to move to the Middle East state given its homophobic laws. The Gay Gooners are one of the UK's oldest LGBT+ fan groups, with chairman Carl Fearn telling Mirror Football in July of his gratitude to Arsenal for their vocal backing.

Speaking exclusively to Mirror Football, he said: "For me personally working so closely with Arsenal it's like pride every day. I'm proud of the club for flying the flag during pride month. But they fly it all year round. We've got members in countries where it is illegal to be LGBT.

"For those people who have to live almost in the bunker, we offer that hope in a way. And it's good for them to see that Arsenal support them, even if their own country won't support them. Why should anybody have to fear for their life just because of who they love?"

Jacob Leeks

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