The month of June is Pride Month, and it is a month that is for highlighting and celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities that are all around the globe. For this interview, we sit down with Max Lewis from the Millwall Romans, the champions of the London Unity League 2020/21.
1. There is a lot of history with Pride Month from the late 60’s with Marsha P. Johnson leading protests after police raided the Stonewall Inn, what exactly does Pride Month and it’s history around the world mean to you?
As a transgender man who has faced homelessness as a result of my identity at a young age, the story of Martha P Johnson is a story that I think everybody should know regardless of how they identify. Pride to me is about celebrating how far we have come when it comes to our rights to love, and to celebrate our freedom to choose how we identify. It's also about growing a LGBTQ+ community in places there might not have been before.
2. This year’s theme in London is ‘Visibility, Unity and Equality’, how important are these themes in particular for you?
Visibility is so important, if I would have known about the London Unity League or that there was a space for people like me to go play football, I would have been involved a few years ago. Some trans guys still might feel like there is no place for them on a football pitch, but there is!
Unity and equality are just as important, I feel like in my short time here at Romans I have seen and experienced the team as a very strong unit: as well as being treated as an equal by all the guys. The boys have been great on and off the pitch and very welcoming.
3. Pride is an important time for the LGBTQ+ community and along with teaching tolerance and moving forward for equality, it also highlights the accepting of same-sex marriage and legal rights for gay couples and/or their families. How much work has been done in this area and what further work needs to be done, do you feel?
There has been a lot of work done, especially in the last ten years I have seen a big difference. Charities like Stonewall are creating spaces for LGBTQ+ to feel safe in, as well as education about LGBTQ+ history, which is really important.
However, there is always room for improvement, and in the new media age discrimination is not just in our real lives, but online, and I think that might be the next step of tackling homophobia/transphobia.
4. On the field, the Romans have recently been taken in by the Millwall Community Trust (MCT), how have the club, the MCT and the fans been since the team’s arrival?
Since my involvement with the club, I have seen nothing but support from Millwall and the fans. Seeing the team on the Millwall social networks shows me that Millwall are proud to be part of us, which as a life long Millwall supporter, makes me proud to be Lion.
5. How was it working with the club Millwall FC on the EFL Day of Action?
The EFL day of action was brilliant! It was my first time meeting the team and everyone was really welcoming, getting to meet Paul Robinson who I watched playing when I was younger, he is a great coach and made an enjoyable training session, and getting to walk out of the tunnel and scoring a goal at The Den is something I will always remember. All round brilliant day!
6. What are you plans and aspirations for the Millwall Romans in the future as part of the MCT and Millwall FC?
Well there is talk of creating a second team, which I would love to be part off. I would like to be in the league winning team as the team has a lot of good talent. I am currently undertaking the FA Playmaker course, as I really enjoy coaching and hope to be qualified soon. To be coach/player of the Millwall Romans second team is a goal for myself. It would be a dream of mine to work for the Millwall Community Trust as a coach, and to get involved with the club as much as possible.