Arsenal star Katie McCabe raises awareness on LGBT+ history month
- Credit: PA
Arsenal star Katie McCabe has been raising awareness as February marks LGBT+ history month.
LGBT+ History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements
Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster McCabe, who was sharing her personal story, said: "I think when you have a platform it's very important to use it. Obviously, the platform I have as captain of Ireland and being an Arsenal footballer you've got young girls looking up to you and young boys if they are watching the women's side of the game."
She said she never hidden the fact she is gay and had posted pictures with her girlfriend on Instagram, but she said it is important to use the platform she has.
"I thought 'what better way to use that position?' and I think the affect I've had on people has all been positive," she said. "I've had young girls direct message me on Instagram and on Twitter, keeping in touch saying that they saw me and kind of thanking me for using myself and coming out and not being afraid of who I am.
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"So, for me, what touched my heart the most was having those young girls and people just message and share their story as well.
"The environment is absolutely everything. I remember my first time in a senior team there were more gay women than straight women...I think I was 16 going into my first senior team and when you're in a senior dressing room and I thought to myself: 'These girls are who they want to be.'"
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She said it's important to "kick out" stereotypes, including the idea that if a woman plays football she is a lesbian.
"That's not the case. I know just as many straight people as I do lesbian in the women's game," she said.
"But it's just that stereotype and we need to start kicking that out, having LGBT+ Month and education. I just think that's so important".
Asked what the women's game has got right in terms of the acceptance of gay players compared to the men's game, McCabe said: "Probably just being open. I think, women - we talk, we chat and we converse. I've obviously never been in a male changing room so I don't know what the comparison is like. For me I would love to see the first openly gay male Premier League footballer come out and I think it will only be a matter of time before that happens."
She said she feels that in the women's game there is an "extra connection with fans" which allows "more of a personal touch".