Groups and individuals tackling homophobia in the game came together at Wembley Stadium to mark the beginning of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) History Month.
The dedicated month aimed at celebrating the contribution made by the LGBT community in all walks of life also coincides with the Football v Homophobia month of action, which has garnered support from Premier and Football League clubs, as well as raft of grassroots support too.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn set the scene with a welcoming address which drew from the inaugural meeting of law makers 152 years ago where it was stated football was to be open to those irrespective of background or walk of life. He also paid homage to partners in the game fighting intolerance.
Glenn said: “This is a time to acknowledge some of the good work taking place in this field by policy makers and campaigners alike.
“As both leader of The FA, and just as importantly as a fan, I’m proud to see the range of work being done to embrace people from right across the LGBT community.”
Jay Stewart from Gendered Intelligence, the partner organisation in The FA's work on Trans inclusion, facilitated a panel discussion featuring grassroots coach Shayne Evans and Kelly Simmons and Funke Awoderu from The FA.
Also on the panel was Sophie Cook, club photographer for AFC Bournemouth, who has recently transitioned from male to female.
Cook said: “I have been involved in football, following my local team Bournemouth, for many years so I know it has the power to unite and bring people together in a way other sports simply don’t have.
“But I also know the bigotry that can be a feature too. I spent years being a shell of myself because I couldn’t truly express who I was. Now I’ve done that, and with total support from the club too.
“Gender identity simply shouldn’t be something that prevents people from supporting their football team.”
The event followed on from a workshop where FA staff members learned about some of the facts, and debunking some of the myths and stereotypes specifically around the Trans community.