James Adcock has sought to reassure any other gay referees that coming out will not negatively affect their career.
Adcock has taken charge of more than 500 games and has felt fully supported by his colleagues since first being open about his sexuality 10 years ago.
He told the BBC‘s LGBT Sport Podcast: ‘A lot of referees will think they can’t come out because it’s going to affect their progression within the sport.
James Adcock wanted to reassure other referees that their careers will not be negatively impacted if they come out as gay
‘But you are not judged by your sexuality and, if you are confident enough in yourself, you’re going to have every support from every colleague and it’s not going to affect you.
‘To come out as gay or not come out as gay, you have to choose that as a person and not as a ref. But, from the top level down, there’s not an issue.’
Adcock said he has never experienced any homophobic abuse during games and he is hoping that will not change now he has spoken out publicly.
‘Just treat me the way you’d treat anyone else,’ he said. ‘You’re there as a supporter, a player or a manager and you judge me on my performances.
‘That’s what I’m judged on. I’m not refereeing because I’m gay, I’m refereeing because I’m refereeing a game of football, so just treat me as a normal human being.
‘That’s where my family, my friends and my football colleagues have been so supportive, because it doesn’t matter that I am gay and involved in sport and refereeing in the Football League.’