Two referees have come out as gay in an attempt to change the culture of Scottish football. Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson become the first openly gay participants in men’s Scottish football since Justin Fashanu, who played for Airdrie and then Hearts in 1993 and 1994, several years after announcing his sexuality.
Napier, who took charge of 10 top-flight games in Scotland in the 2021-22 season, spoke about his sexuality in a video on the Scottish Football Association Twitter account.
“We need to see the climate change so that people do feel that they can be their true self and live happily and comfortably in their own skin, and that needs to then transcend into football,” he said.
Wilson, who referees in Scotland’s lower leagues, talked about his sexuality in a video on the YouTube channel of the mental health charity Back Onside.
Asked why he was speaking publicly now, Wilson said: “I think really the reason being that this has been a horrific journey, to be honest. A journey of maybe 17 years of living a life that I didn’t want to live, living a lie, living the way that other people maybe wanted me to live or that I thought other people wanted me to live. And probably dictated and directed in many ways by football.”
The Blackpool forward Jake Daniels last month became the first male British player in the professional game to come out publicly as gay since Fashanu in 1990. The 17-year-old said he had been inspired by other sports figures such as the Adelaide defender Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton – Thetford’s player-manager – and the Olympic diving champion Tom Daley.