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10 December 2020

Reading and Wales midfielder Jess Fishlock on the importance of the Rainbow Laces campaign

Reading and Wales international Jess Fishlock has spoken out about the importance of the Rainbow Laces campaign.

The 33-year-old, who is one of 12 ambassadors for the campaign, was awarded an MBE two years ago for her contributions to both football and the LGBT+ community.

And now, after moving to the Women’s Super League for the first time earlier this year, Fishlock is making it a priority of hers to speak up for the initiative.

Fishlock received an MBE in 2018 for her work both on and off the pitch

(PA)

"I've got those experiences of being in LGBT+ in sport - some good, some bad," she told Sky Sports. "I feel like I do have that emotional connection to it, so I'm well aware of what needs to be changed, and what work needs to go into it.

"I'm a firm believer in visibility, education and awareness. That's what will drive change in this country with regards to the LGBT+ community, diversity and inclusion.

"I don't think we all truly realise how important sport is.

"We use it as a platform because it's massive but it happens throughout society - we need to be better at supporting it, educating ourselves on inclusion, and to be better at calling it out if you see or hear something that you know isn't right.

"It's important to speak out and let people know if they're behaving in a way that's inappropriate or wrong. We need to use platforms like sport to push that message."

Fishlock has publicly said she knew she was gay from the age of 12 and previously stated that she was bullied at school as a result.

The midfielder is a stalwart of the Wales national team having made 117 appearances for them since her debut in 2006.

She is also a two-time Champions League winner having won the competition with Frankfurt in 2015 and then again during her loan spell with Lyon in 2019.

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