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James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News


The ninth round of the 2021 Betfred Super League season will see the competition show their support for the Rainbow Laces campaign. Referee James Child, who went public as gay in February, spoke to Sky Sports about his importance

Last updated: 06/10/21 12:39 PM

Super League referee James Child publicly declared himself gay in February

By his own admission, James Child never imagined that he would one day be on the biggest stages of the rugby league.

Although he grew up supporting his hometown club Dewsbury Rams, following them home and away with his family, Child was not the type to play sports and even when he started to referee at the age of 11, he had no particular ambition to reach the top.

But these days he is firmly established as one of the most senior officials in the Super League, with the highlight so far being taking charge of the 2017 Grand Final between Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers, and the player 37 is undoubtedly his youngest. be surprised at how his career has unfolded.

“None of my friends were in the rugby league and, to be honest, the sport wasn’t my strong suit,” Child said. Sky sports. “When I was in school, if someone had said that you got involved in professional sports, I would have been surprised.

“It’s probably the best thing to do after getting involved in sports. If I wasn’t going to play, then I was at least part of the action.

“When we were playing football at school at lunchtime, we took turns officiating and I liked that – probably the power went to my head, no doubt! – it ‘ is why I thought I was going to give it a try.

“When I was a kid I tried all kinds of different musical instruments for a few weeks and quit, and I think my parents were convinced that this was the last musical instrument and that it would pass. in a few weeks. But 25 years or more later, I still do. “

James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News

James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News 3:49
Referee James Child on Super League support for Rainbow Laces

Referee James Child on Super League support for Rainbow Laces

The kid is no stranger to making big decisions week after week on the rugby pitch, but one of the biggest decisions he made came in February this year when he publicly revealed his sexuality. .

He had previously revealed his homosexuality to his family, friends and fellow umpires – and, indeed, thinks many others in the rugby league already knew that as well.

Instead, Child’s desire to go public with his sexuality was a desire to think twice about those who launched homophobic abuse at him from the terraces in the past, now that it was out in the open.

“It was my main motivation for speaking out like I did earlier this year,” Child said. “It wasn’t a coming out story because my friends, family and coworkers have known it for years and I think it’s an open secret in the game anyway.

James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News

James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News 2:48
Ahead of the Rainbow Laces Super League tour, Becky Greenfield and Rachel Thompson of the Wigan Warriors talk about their experiences growing up and the importance of being yourself.

Ahead of the Rainbow Laces Super League tour, Becky Greenfield and Rachel Thompson of the Wigan Warriors talk about their experiences growing up and the importance of being yourself.

“It was more about telling everyone that I’m gay and that I’m pretty comfortable with being gay – and that’s common knowledge then – so if you want to abuse me homophobic way, then you do it so knowing that I’m gay, which makes it different.

“In many ways this should be a non-issue, but I hope my speaking gives others some representation.”

The ninth round of the Super League season, which begins with the Castleford Tigers hosting Hull FC live Air sports Thursday will see the contest supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign to raise awareness of issues surrounding discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity.

Players and match officials will be encouraged to support the campaign, with clubs receiving pairs of rainbow laces for players to wear, while perimeter signs in stadiums will highlight the campaign and messages from support will be broadcast on the Super League’s social media channels.

James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News

James Child: Super League support for Rainbow Laces is a starting point |  Rugby League News 0:28
Sky Sports expert Barrie McDermott hosts next Rainbow Laces Super League round

Sky Sports expert Barrie McDermott hosts next Rainbow Laces Super League round

Child is delighted to see that the competition supports the concept, but is hopeful that it can be adopted by the entire rugby league.

“I think that’s a starting point, for me,” Child said. “The rainbow laces are just a small part of it and the RFL has the“ Tackle It ”campaign.

“I would like to think that next year when we start again, it will be all a sport problem and we can do a little more than just put laces in our boots.

“It’s good that we can play our part. It’s a small gesture and I hope people can.”

Sky Sports is a member of TeamPride which supports Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign. Your history of being LGBT + or an active ally could help make sport everyone’s game. To discuss it further, please contact us here.

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