Lee, 36, started his transition from female to male when he was 25 years old. He shares his story with us to raise awareness of the trans community whilst explaining how people can educate themselves in order to make trans people feel more comfortable in a football environment.

‘I always knew I was different, and my identity felt different to my peers growing up. I was very masculine and the way I dressed and the hobbies I had were masculine. It wasn’t until later in life that I had a name for how I felt because being trans and finding out information about it when I was growing up wasn’t easy. 

Overall the reaction to my transition has been positive. Most people these days have a relatively good concept of what it means to be trans. They might not necessarily know the terminology and understand the mechanics of it, but they have an idea it exists and that it’s valid.

The barrier facing trans people in football is fear, it is as simple as that. It’s the fear of the unknown and the thoughts of what if? 

Historically football has been very male dominated and there is still a culture where there’s a slight intolerance to difference. It’s very much ingrained in football, and you only have to look at the Black Lives Matter and Rainbow Laces campaigns to see that. So to me there’s still the fear of being targeted, the fear of being jeered at and having the focus turned on you.

Campaigns like Football v Homophobia are so important but there is so much still to be done. More lesbian and gay people are attending games, and that number is slowly increasing for bi people too, but I do think trans people, especially trans women, are not just a minority in the world, but such a minority in football. 

I know very few trans women who would feel comfortable attending a football match. The more we normalise things, and the more we see players wearing rainbow armbands and rainbow laces, the better. This can only be a good thing for young trans people and other LGB people growing up to see their role models supporting these campaigns.  

I’d really encourage people, no matter who they are, where they come from and what their background is to just educate themselves a little bit about trans lives. There’s some amazing resources out there on the internet that you can read. Education breaks down so many barriers.

And to anyone who is trans and doesn’t feel like football is for them, my message is to make it be. Speak to other trans people and realise that we need to change football, we can’t expect football to change for us. We have to turn up and be counted and be present in order to change the face of football. The game should be for everybody.’

You can read the full interview with Lee over on the Leicester City website.