Premiership referee and Exeter Chiefs forward celebrate pride month - Ruck

Premiership referee and Exeter Chiefs forward celebrate pride month

For LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Premiership referee Craig Maxwell-Keys speaks about his experience coming out, and the acceptance and celebration of it within rugby

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Maxwell-Keys, who took charge of the 2020 Gallagher Premiership final, eventually decided the time was right to reveal his sexuality to colleagues at Twickenham as well as his local club, Lichfield RFC in 2019.

Now based in Cheltenham, he aims to continue moving up the referees’ pecking order – and his experiences since coming out have indicated that sexuality will be no barrier to that.

He said: “My experience of being part of the LGBTQ+ community in rugby has been and remains a really positive one. Players within the game actively went out of their way to be positive and offer words of support when I came out.

“Very little changed for me post coming out which reflects the inclusive environment that exists within even the top levels of the game across the clubs, officials, and supporters.

“Rugby can continue to build on the work it has done in advocating inclusivity and being true to its values. This includes supporting foundation work in communities, having safe LGBTQ+ spaces at games and equally taking bold action where members of the sport do not live up to the inclusive and game for all values the sport has.”

Maxwell-Keys added: “To be a good ally in the sports world, you must both celebrate success of those from the LGBTQ+ community, but also actively call out individuals/ teams where needed because their action/words fall sort of what the games and its values expect.”