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18th May 2023

Shelbourne star Keeva Keenan says it’s “really important” for the sport to be accepting

Clodagh McKeon

“The sport is really accepting”

League of Ireland player Keeva Keenan said creating a safe space for LGBT football players and fans is “really important”.

She teamed up with SSE Airtricity and the League of Ireland to support LGBT Ireland in advance of Pride month in June.

SSE Airtricity has sponsored the National LGBT+ Helpline since 2022 which marked the first time the Helpline has been fully funded.

A branding takeover by LGBT Ireland will take place for the SSE Airtricity Men’s & Women’s Premier Division games this weekend to promote inclusion and diversity.

League of Ireland players Roberto Lopes and Keeva Keenan are ambassadors and have helped launch this incredible campaign.

Speaking about why this initiative is important to her, Keeva said: “I think it’s really important for people to know it’s okay to be a part of the LGBT+ community and that the sport is really accepting.”

This campaign aims to create a safe space for everyone.

LGBT Ireland is a national support service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people as well as their families and friends.

Shelbourne star Keeva hopes that this campaign will create a safe space for everyone, not just within the women’s game.

She said: “It’s great to be doing things like this so young kids can see that we’re talking about how inclusive football is in Ireland.

“And, not just in the women’s game, in the men’s too because [Shamrock Rovers player] Pico is a part of this as well.

“It’s great for him to be able to speak because it’s slightly more of a touchy subject with men in football. It’s not that women are more inclusive, it’s maybe that it’s just more normalised in women’s football.

“Your friends are just turning up with their girlfriend and that’s normal rather than having to come out and say ‘I am this or I am that’.

“Football is inclusive whether it’s in the women’s or the men’s but it’s just more normalised in the women’s game.”

There’s a “stigma” in men’s football.

Keeva believes it’s less of a “big deal” in women’s football because different sexualities are more common than in men’s football.

“I think there’s more of a stigma around it in men’s football because they have to come out and say it.

“It’s more of a news article when a man comes out and says, ‘This is what I am’. Whereas with women, it’s just normal if you come in with your girlfriend you know.

“It’s how it should be. You shouldn’t have to come out and say ‘Listen everyone this is what I am and this is what it is.'”

Keeva is smashing it for Shelbourne and plans to continue the winning streak this weekend.

Shelbourne meet Sligo Rovers this Saturday May 20th in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division. It kicks off at 5pm in The Showgrounds.

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