Beth is out as gay, and has been hailed a queer icon since England’s win at the Euros

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA @BETHMEAD_ ON INSTAGRAM

The Lionesses winning the Women’s Euros this summer will, undoubtedly, go down as one of the greatest moments in British history. Bringing it home for the first time since the World Cup in 1966, England’s women’s team were watched and cheered on across the country, with Chloe Kelly’s celebratory run around the pitch in her sports bra – kissing and hugging her players as she knew England’s likely fate after she scored that final goal – firmly cemented in the public consciousness. It was the summer to end all summers; the moment to end all moments.

Integral to that win was Beth Mead, at player who, at just 27 years old, has secured her place in the Guinness Book of World Records for her victory in scoring the most goals at the Women’s Euros 2022. She also secured the Golden Boot with this achievement. And yet, since England’s win, attention has been drawn further to the representation on that team: it has more out players than any team in men’s football, encouraging an inclusive narrative. Now, she’s opened up in a new interview with Sky Sports about coming out and embracing her new titles not just as a Euro-winning team member, but as a queer icon.

“For me, when I was growing up, obviously where I came from, there wasn’t many people I knew who were out openly gay or bisexual. My parents maybe struggled in the beginning and it was something that was hard for me to say whether it was a phase or something I wanted to act upon”, she revealed. From a little village in North Yorkshire, she remarked: “I get how difficult it is for some people and I get that it is not always socially accepted. In the women’s game it is more 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’ve just been 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. I want to bridge that gap [between women’s and men’s football] and help the men as much as the women.”

“It’s a tough process. It’s 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’re happy at the end of the day. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters.”

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