Lloyd Wilson

2024 Football v Homophobia Festival Guest Speakers Announced

The Q&A panel will take place on Sunday 11th February at 3:30pm in Lincoln City's Legends Lounge

Lincolnshire FA are thrilled to announce our exclusive guests of honour for our 2024 Football v Homophobia Festival, which will be held at Lincoln City's LNER Stadium, this Sunday 11th February. 

The event will be comprised of a 6-a-side, mixed gender tournament followed by a Q&A panel with exclusive guest speakers from the world of football. The Q&A panel will start at 3:30pm to 6:30pm in the Legends Lounge.

The Q&A panel is completely free of charge and it's encouraged that everyone is welcome to join us and our exclusive guests to discuss on-trend and relevant discussion points from the world of football - ranging from grassroots to professional levels. 

To register your attendance for the Q&A panel and networking event, click here

Our guest speakers for the event are...

Lloyd Wilson

Lloyd is a Senior Listed Category 1 Referee, operating across the Scottish Premier Leagues, and came out publicly in June 2022. He's used his platform in the game to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion, speaking with the press and other since coming out. He is described as an "amazing advocate" and a role model on and off the pitch. Since coming out, he has supported others and worked to challenge homophobia in the game. He also speaks openly about the mental health challenges that come with being gay.

Asked why he was speaking publicly now, Wilson said: “I think really the reason being that this has been a horrific journey, to be honest. A journey of maybe 17 years of living a life that I didn’t want to live, living a lie, living the way that other people maybe wanted me to live or that I thought other people wanted me to live. And probably dictated and directed in many ways by football.”

Wilson used his coming out moment to raise awareness of mental health by working with a charity called Back Onside.

Early last year, the impact he was making was recognized with a Football v Homophobia Award, with Wilson winning in the Scotland category at the event held for the first time at the UK’s National Football Museum in Manchester.

Hayley Wood-Thompson

Hayley, captain of Cheshunt FC Women and a PE teacher, made a film that was shown in a schoolwide assembly. It sparked constructive conversations that went far beyond just her own community in Hertfordshire, and led to her being nominated for the FvH Awards. She was recognised for the powerful way in which she combined themes of football and equality with the story of her own personal journey to make an outstanding contribution in LGBT+ History Month. 

Speaking to Nonchalant Magazine, Hayley said "We all have to our part in normalising same sex relationships. Teaching is a super power as we have the opportunity to shape the attitudes of our young people. Children cannot understand something they do not see so I wanted to be part of the change.

School for me was a very different experience as section 28 was still in place until I was in Year 9. LGBT was simply not spoken about. I want our students to have a better experience, to feel accepted, whoever they are and whoever they love."

Hayley was awarded the 2022 Football v Homophobia Hero Award for her work in making football more inclusive for all. 

Callum Prince

Callum was on the receiving end of homophobic abuse back in 2021, and after giving interviews to Sky Sports has gone on to become an LGBTQ+ inclusion activist in football. Now playing for Nottingham Lions, he sits on Leicestershire & Rutland County FA's IAG and is the Development Officer for the GFSN Inclusion League.  

Callum has an extensive background in multiple sports from a young age. He is always looking at different ways to encourage anyone into local sports and help support their journey. Being an openly LGBTQ+ grassroots footballer provides a unique opportunity to share his own experiences to help football become a truly more inclusive space for everyone, no matter their background.

Since his negative experience in the game, he's gone on to become an LGBTQ+ activist in football and has organised the first-ever Ashby Pride event, become Development Officer at the GFSN, played for Leicester Wildecats and Nottingham Lions, and won Leicestershire & Rutland FA's Young Volunteer of the Year Award. 

The Q&A panel will be hosted by Lincolnshire FA's LGBTQ+ Ambassador, Zack Leader. Since facing homophobic discrimination in a Sunday League game, Zack has publicly spoken and advocated for making a difference in football and leave a legacy of making football more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community. He's volunteered with the charity 'Just Like Us' as well as telling his story in the LGBTQ+ Workshops organised by Lincolnshire FA.

He's since been shortlisted for a Football v Homophobia Hero Award and now coaches and delivers Lincoln United's LGBTQ+ Inclusive Recreational Football sessions.

For more information on Lincolnshire FA's Football v Homophobia Festival, click here.


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