Scottish referees Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson have come out as gay in an effort to create more LGBTQ+ visibility.

Over the last few years, the football world has seen a slight influx of openly gay players and officials.

From Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo to Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels, prominent figures in the sport have taken that brave step in living their life openly and authentically.

On 2 June, the two Category One referees joined the aforementioned players by coming out in two separate heartfelt statements.

In a video posted on the Scottish Football Association Twitter page, Napier expressed hope that his coming out will inspire others and help break stigmas.

“It’s something that I never thought I would be sitting here doing. It’s something that I’ve obviously lived with for a long time,” he explained. “It’s been a difficult journey to get to this point, but over the last couple of years, it’s become a lot easier.

“I don’t think this needs to be a news story, but I think, at the moment, it really does because we need to see the climate change so that people do feel that they can be their true self and live happily and comfortably in their own skin, and that needs to transcend into football.”

The 32-year-old also referenced Tom Daley and said he was “inspired” by his historic coming-out announcement in 2013.

Towards the end of his statement, Napier said that more LGBTQ+ role models need to be on the pitch to start more conversations.

“Until we have these conversations and have these role models on the pitch, there will be that stigma, that fear, and that’s what we need to change, and I hope that we can do that by having these conversations,” he concluded.

Napier’s inspiring message was also joined by Wilson’s own coming out announcement – which he said was inspired by newly out players Daniels and Cavallo.

“This hasn’t just been on a whim. This has been prepared for quite some time,” he explained. “But I think Josh Cavallo is a name that absolutely has contributed to this, Jake Daniels, too, 17-years-old, that’s absolutely incredible.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Wilson revealed that he hadn’t received any negative comments regarding his sexuality.

“The reaction that I’ve had – I’m really shocked by. The reaction has been exceptional, I’ve not had one negative comment,” he said.

“That was what I was really fearing. I’m bracing myself that they may come, I’m not naive enough to think that something might not come.”

When asked why he decided to come out after “17-years of silence,” Wilson said: “I’ve got a partner of about a year, Hamish, who’s been an incredible support and an incredible encouraging this. So that’s why I’m doing this.”

Congratulations are in order for Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson.