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 who 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.
It shouldn’t be frowned upon. It should be the norm. I think there is this hierarchy of what people expect and how the older generation sees it. Everyone has their opinion but for me, it now has to be the norm and like I said, you can’t help who you fall in love with. If you are happy, that is all that matters.
“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.
The Gunners will be hoping to go one better this season after finishing as runners-up to Chelsea, who face a trip to Liverpool for their season opener, live on Sky Sports.
Women’s Super League opening weekend
Friday 16th September
Saturday 17th September
- Manchester United vs Reading
Sunday 18th September
- Aston Villa vs Manchester City
- Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur
- West Ham vs Everton
- Liverpool vs Chelsea, live on Sky Sports
How to follow the WSL on Sky Sports…
Sky Sports – All 35 live televised games will be available across Sky Sports’ flagship channels, including Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.
Sky Sports News – Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Barclays FA WSL fans can enjoy Sky Sports News (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the league and its storylines throughout the season.
Inside the WSL – Hosted by award-winning broadcaster and journalist Jessica Creighton, Inside the WSL is a comprehensive round-up of all things Barclays FA Women’s Super League and women’s football. Airing weekly on Sky Sports Premier League, the half-an-hour show will review and preview matches, including in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews. Viewers can expect gripping behind-the-scenes access as well as a summary of all the action both on and off the pitch.
Sky Sports Social – Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will continue to be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
New to the 2022/23 season, the Sky Sports WSL TikTok account will be giving fans 360° coverage of the league and granting them exclusive access to their new favorite players. Also a first for the league, a new Snapchat Discover show The Dub aims to become the platform’s new hub for Barclays’ WSL content.
Sky Showcase – All Sky customers will benefit from being able to watch the opening weekend fixtures on Sky Showcase (channel 106) without a Sky Sports subscription. This channel is designed to curate some of the top shows, films and sports from across Sky’s channels.
Sky Sports digital – Follow all the latest from the WSL across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports. You can watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel.
Key dates for the 2022/23 season
- Barclays Women’s Championship opening weekend: August 20/21, 2022
- Barclays Women’s Super League opening weekend: SSeptember 16/17/18
- FA Women’s Continental League Cup Final: March 4/5, 2023
- Barclays Women’s Championship final weekend: April 29/30, 2023
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final: May 14, 2023
- Barclays Women’s Super League final weekend: May 27/28, 2023