Arsenal and England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale vows to stamp out dressing room homophobia as he reveals his brother is gay – and says he wants fans to ‘attend matches without fear abuse or discrimination’
Aaron Ramsdale has vowed not to stay silent when hearing homophobic comments in dressing rooms as he spoke movingly about his ‘brave, superstar’ gay brother Oliver.
The Arsenal and England goalkeeper, 25, is the youngest of three boys – with the eldest, Edward, working as a prison guard and Oliver, his middle brother, performing in the West End.
Ramsdale was met with a wave of mockery and abuse after being signed for £24million in 2021 after suffering three relegations in four seasons as a first-team footballer, but he’s now the North London side’s main keeper.
The footballer said he had been called ‘brave’ for defying his critics, but insisted it was his brother, Oliver, who was the ‘brave one’ in his family.
‘My brother is gay, and he’s lived his life in an open and authentic way since he went off to school,’ he wrote in the Players’ Tribune.
Aaron Ramsdale said his brother, Oliver, (who he’s pictured with’ is gay and had lived in an ‘open and authentic way’ since school
Ramsdale pledged to no longer remain silent when hearing homophobic comments because he wants his brother to be able to attend matches without fear of abuse or discrimination
The footballer, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent, has two brothers, Oliver and Edward – who is a prison officer
‘I’m so proud to say he’s my brother. I haven’t talked about it before, but with everything going on in football right now, I thought it was important to mention.
‘Oliver is a lot like me, in many ways. He’s a regular bloke. Loves football. Loves knocking about with his mates.
‘Loves the Gunners. He’s proud of me, and I’m really proud of him.’
In the article, Ramsdale pledged to no longer remain silent when hearing homophobic comments because he wants his brother to be able to attend matches without fear of abuse or discrimination.
‘Over the years, I’ve probably bit my tongue a few too many times – both in dressing rooms and on social media – whenever I hear homophobic comments or stupid things being said,’ he wrote.
‘And I think maybe my brother has done the same, thinking it would make my life easier. Well, all that ends today.
‘It’s not the easiest thing to be open like this, but there’s never a ”right time”. I’ve been working on this story since the start of the summer, and my family has given me their blessing.’
In the first-person piece, Ramsdale also revealed that his wife Georgina suffered a miscarriage on a flight back to the UK in January
He added: ‘I want this game I love to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I want my brother, Ollie – or anyone of any sexuality, race or religion – to come to games without having to fear abuse.
‘And when we lift a trophy at the Emirates Stadium, I want my brother there with me. What could the trolls tell us then? Not a thing.’
Oliver has been performing in the West End since 2015, with credits including Cats at the London Palladium and White Christmas.
Recently, he completed a film for Netflix and is planning to shift away from musical theatre to screen work.
Reacting to his brother’s article on Twitter, he wrote: ‘I don’t have many words to describe how this article has made me feel, pretty speechless and deeply moved.’
In the first-person piece, Ramsdale also revealed that his wife Georgina suffered a miscarriage on a flight back to the UK in January.
Following the Winter World Cup in Qatar players were given an extended break and Ramsdale and his wife took the opportunity to head overseas.
It was on the six-hour flight home that Georgina suffered a miscarriage during her first pregnancy.
Back in January the pair were expecting but Georgina suffered a miscarriage on a flight
‘There are things that go on in our lives that the public has no idea about, and the past year has been an emotional rollercoaster for me and my family,’ he wrote.
‘There’s really no way that I can describe the pain of that six-hour flight back to London, even now.
‘I just want people out there to know that they’re not alone if they’re going through it themselves.’
He added: ‘When we got back, I didn’t tell many people what happened. Only my family, my team-mates, and of course Mikel [Arteta].’
Ramsdale’s comments on homophobia come after the Football Association launched investigations into several alleged incidents of offensive chanting last season.
Wolves became the first club to be fined after a section of its supporters sung the ‘Chelsea rent boy’ chant during a fixture in April.
The £100,000 penalty came after the FA announced clubs could be charged with disciplinary action if their fans engage in discriminatory behaviour – including the use of the term ‘rent boy’.
Earlier, a Fulham supporter was banned from football for three years and fined after admitting a public order offence relating to the chant.
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