I’m A Celeb’s Jill Scott praised for opening up about being queer in football: ‘Superb’

Jill Scott promo photo for I'm A Celebrity. (ITV)

I’m A Celebrity star and retired England player Jill Scott opened up about coming as as a gay footballer.

The Lioness, who was part of the team that bought England to victory in the Euros, has always been open about her sexuality and currently lives with her partner, Shelly Unitt.

While in the camp she has spoken about her journey to starting football and now has reflected on coming out as a footballer. 

“In women’s football, coming out and homosexuality, is it more open? As obviously that is a problem in men’s football,” fellow campmate Seann Walsh asked. 

Scott replied: “I think in the men’s game, it’s so difficult. If you think about how much stick they get from chants… it’s just not a safe environment, where they feel safe enough to do that. And that’s so sad. 

“But yeah in women’s football it’s just never an issue. Some have partners that are female, some are married to men, yeah…”

Boy George, the show’s other queer contestant, and Scott went onto share their thoughts on their own sexuality. 

“I find it’s more other people ask about it, I’m busy being myself,” Boy George began, “They often ask ‘when did you know you were gay?’ It was kind of gradual I think. For me it was other kids calling me a girl.

“I knew if I announced it I’d be immediately unpopular in the playground, but inside of me I absolutely thought it was totally normal and this is what’s meant to be.”

Jill Scott added: “I think when you get to the point where it’s like not a question… in my head, it’s just simple, you find someone, you fall in love with them, it it’s a woman, a man, but I don’t think it defines you at all.”

As fans noted, the discussion is even more pertinent coming as the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar, where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment and even death. 

Seven European nations, including England, announced at the last minute they would ditch plans to wear rainbow “OneLove” armbands in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, after being threatened with yellow cards. 
The tournament has attracted huge controversy given Qatar’s record of human rights abuses, with reports of LGBTQ+ people being abused by officials as recently as October.

David Beckham has been heavily criticised for signing a reported $150 million deal to promote Qatar, while Gary Neville has faced backlash for working for a Qatari broadcaster throughout the tournament.

Although out queer footballers are common in women’s football, this is not the case in men’s football.

Last year Australian footballer Josh Cavallo became the only active out gay top-flight male pro. He was joined this year by Blackpool FC’s Jake Daniels.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here airs at 9pm everyday on ITV.