“I got a lot of people just patting me on the back and saying ‘well done, it doesn’t matter that you are gay’.”
In August 2017, Ryan Atkin became the first man refereeing in England’s professional leagues to come out as gay.
Since then, he has gone from working as an assistant referee in the English Football League to refereeing in the National League this season.
From running the line to being the man in the middle, he has been nominated has been named as one of Stonewall’s Sport Champions for 2019.
Before the charity’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which started on Friday and is aimed at tackling homophobia in sport, Atkin spoke to the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast and says he hopes that others can follow in his footsteps. More