Manchester United’s openly gay manager says accepting LGBT+ people just is not enough: ‘Why should my life just be accepted?’

Casey Stoney

Manchester United’s openly gay manager has said that accepting LGBT+ people isn’t enough, saying the conversation should instead be focused on equality and human rights.

Casey Stoney, a former player who has served as head coach of Manchester United’s women’s team since 2018, said the conversation around LGBT+ acceptance needs to shift.

Stoney, who came out publicly as gay in 2014, told BBC Sport: “Why should my life just be accepted?

“It’s like I have to be accepted by society and I don’t like it. It’s not the right word to use if we’re talking about equality and human rights and just loving another human being.

“It should be the most normal thing in the world.”

Stoney continued: “The language we use is really important because we live in a world where anybody can say anything on social media. Young people use different language than I did. They throw certain terms around and use the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way.

“When I hear people say sexuality is a ‘life choice’ you obviously don’t know enough about it because if you knew enough about the life you have to live and certain choices you have to make and the way you are prejudiced against and stereotyped, then it’s not an easy life to live so why would you choose it?”

The football manager said being part of a minority group is only something you can understand if you have lived experience, and said people should “choose to educate yourself”.

“I want to educate myself all the time so I’m not ignorant, I don’t use the wrong language and to make sure I understand and empathise with the difficulties that people face day-to-day so I’m not a part of that.

“And actually, not just accepting that I’m not part of it, but challenging it every single day to say that’s not right and we need to be better.”

Casey Stoney came out as gay after being inspired by Tom Daley.

Casey Stoney came out publicly in 2014, revealing that she was inspired by Olympic diver Tom Daley’s decision to open up about his sexuality.

The football manager, who was then Arsenal Ladies defender, said she had been “living a lie” in the years before she came out publicly.

“I’ve never hidden it within football circles because it is accepted. But to the outside world, I’ve never spoken about my sexuality,” Stoney told BBC Radio at the time.

“I feel it’s really important for me to speak out as a gay player be use there are so many people struggling who are gay, and you hear abut people taking their own lives because they are homosexual. That should never happen.”

She added: “I looked at the response that Tom Daley got. It was incredibly positive, and I thought ‘wow, the world is changing and it’s time for me to stand up and tell my side of the story’.”