Comedian Rosie Jones, alongside host Mark McAdam, helps put West Ham Women through their paces and discovers the strength of teamwork and togetherness as part of a special Rainbow Laces episode of 'I'm Game'
Saturday 11 December 2021 06:16, UK
"Growing up as a teenager, I couldn't work out how I could be disabled and gay – it felt too much."
Rosie Jones has come a long way from being a confused youngster to one of comedy's rising stars, appearing on a number of TV shows including The Last Leg, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Casualty.
The 31-year-old has accepted her sexuality and cerebral palsy so much so that they are usually incorporated into her stand-up routines, challenging stereotypes and prejudices.
However, despite being a passionate football fan, she rarely gets a chance to doing anything around sport so naturally jumped at the chance to join Sky Sports News' Mark McAdam at West Ham Women for the latest episode of 'I'm Game', in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.
After getting kitted out as a fully-fledged member of the team, Rosie was given a tour of the training facilities before sitting down to chat with Gilly Flaherty to speak about her own experiences of being gay.
"My story is well known - I struggled to accept that I was gay when I was younger which led to me trying to take my own life," Flaherty said.
"I never really spoke openly about it until I came to West Ham and did the first Rainbow Laces campaign.
"Women's football is great for being accepted and not being judged - you don't feel worried about coming out or talking about it with your team-mates."
Rosie spoke of her admiration for the West Ham captain and how growing up the word 'lesbian' was often used as an insult.
"I grew up thinking it was a bad word and that I couldn't be gay and disabled but I am so glad we can all sit here today and say we are proud to be gay," she added.
Rosie's day with West Ham Women made her realise the power sport can have to not only empower individuals but also provide a much-need support network.
But if there was one bit of last minute 'team-talk' advice she could give - what would it be?
"I realised a team is so much more, it's everyone working together and the loyalty and passion that everyone has is something very special," Rosie said.
"If you are able to be yourself you will be a better person and therefore a better player.
"But if there is anyone struggling, take your time - I know from my own experience, truly accepting every part of yourself takes time and is still an on-going process.
"Keep doing what you are doing because football is so much more than 90 minutes and whoever you are - you will get there and one day you will be able to live and love as your true authentic self."
Find out what happened when Rosie Jones put West Ham Women through their paces in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign by watching the video at the top of the page.
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