Sunday, 29 January 2012

Waking up to LGBT issues?

Think back twenty, ten, even five years ago and homophobia in football was not something that was talked about, never mind tackled head on.

Yet in recent days there has been two extremely positive signs that the footballing world in the UK at least is waking up to the challenge of ensuring there is true equality in the game.

First there is the news that the Professional Footballers' Association has sent posters to all 92 league clubs which the media says is an attempt to reassure any gay footballers they have the support of their teammates.

The poster shows two shirts in a locker room – one with No 7 Gay and the other with No 11 Straight – written on it, with the words ‘When you are part of a team you are never on your own – we are all winners. Football is committed to tackling homophobia’.

The PFA's head of equalities Simone Pound told the Mail on Sunday: "We are working hard to tackle homophobia and it is something everyone has a responsibility to address.

"We want the authorities, clubs and fans to create a 'so what?' culture around being gay in football. As the players' union, we consider it a vital matter. There has been a step forward recently and football is taking homophobia seriously."

In response a Justin Campaign spokesman said: "We welcome the actions of the PFA. This is a really positive step in the tackling the last taboo in football.

"Football players' look for leadership, advice and guidance from their union. This move, which on paper is only an A4 poster, is in fact a big message, not only to any gay professional players, but to their colleagues and friends that homophobic behaviour is discriminatory and wrong.

"It is only with such strong leadership from those in charge of professional football that true equality will be established."

This announcement comes as BBC3 will show a documentary called Britain's Gay Footballers at 9pm tomorrow (Monday).

It will feature Amal Fashanu, Justin's niece and a supporter of the campaign, interviewing, among others, PR guru Max Clifford and QPR captain Joey Barton.

With such publicity it is surely a sign that the work the campaign and others are doing is finally having some impact at the very top levels and among fans, which can only be good for the beautiful game.

1 comment:

  1. One of the comments from the Daily Mail article, which is horrible;
    "Its not going to be smooth sailing, choosing a life style is one thing, forcing others to accept it is an infringement of their own rights to choice and personal freedoms.".
    The idea that being open to homosexuality is unfair to the bigots is just sick. It's also not rare. No poster will change this, but at least it's a step forward.