Jill Scott: Male footballers find it harder than female players to come out

Jill Scott has said being LGBT+ in women’s football is “never an issue” and added that it is harder for male footballers as “it’s not a safe environment”.

The 35-year-old Lioness was discussing coming out with her I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! campmate Boy George during Monday night’s episode of the ITV1 reality show.

The Culture Club singer, 61, said: “(People) 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…‘You’re a girl’.”

Boy George then told the Bush Telegraph: “I have no problem with people asking me when did I know I was gay because I can’t answer it.

“It’s such a weird question. The difference is that when you’re a gay kid or trans or whatever, no-one really prepares for your arrival.”

Speaking at the creek, he added: “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.”

During the conversation, Scott said: “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, if it’s a woman, a man, but I don’t think it defines you at all.”

The midfielder – who was part of the Women’s Euro 2022 winning team and later retired in the summer – is in a relationship with Shelly Unitt who sent her a message in the camp during Sunday’s episode.

Unitt said: “I love you so much and now the rest of the world does too. This is because you’re such a great person with your positive, kind and encouraging self.”

On Monday, Comedian Seann Walsh then asked Jill: “In women’s football, coming out and homosexuality, is it more open? As obviously that is a problem in men’s football.”

Scott said: “I think in the men’s game, it’s so difficult. If you think about how much stick they get from the chant…It’s just not a safe environment where they feel safe enough to kind of 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.”

Scott also explained that when she was growing up she would watch David Beckham and Steven Gerrard as there were “no female role models”.

She added: “And now I’ll put on my own soccer camps and the girls have the female players on the back of their shirt.”

Boy George
The Lioness was discussing the concept of coming out with singer Boy George (ITV)

Elsewhere in the camp, Matt Hancock lost the celebrities a packet of rice after he left it to burn.

Meanwhile, Monday’s episode also saw Hollyoaks actor Owen Warner triumph in the latest Bushtucker trial, securing all nine stars available and finishing with time to spare.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues on ITV1.