Homophobia in football

Mancunian White

Glaswegian now actually
Patron
Just saw this.

AS a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a footballer. I wasn’t interested in doing well at school. Instead of doing homework, every spare minute I had was spent with a ball. In the end it paid off. But even now I still have to pinch myself when I run out and get to play each week in front of tens of thousands of people. However there is something that sets me apart from most of the other players in the Premier League. I am gay.

Even writing that down in this letter is a big step for me .But only my family members and a select group of friends are aware of my sexuality. I don’t feel ready to share it with my team or my manager. That’s hard. I spend most of my life with these guys and when we step out on the pitch we are a team. But still, something inside me makes it impossible for me to be open with them about how I feel. I dearly hope one day soon I will be able to.

I’ve known since I was about 19 that I was gay. How does it feel having to live like this? Day-to-day, it can be an absolute nightmare. And it is affecting my mental health more and more. Ifeel trapped and my fear is that disclosing the truth about what I am will only make things worse. So, although my heart often tells me I need to do it my head always says the same thing: “Why risk it all?”

I am lucky enough to earn a very good wage. I have a nice car, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and can afford to buy anything I want for my family and friends. But one thing I am missing is companionship. I am at an age where I would love to be in a relationship. But because of the job I do the level of trust in having a long-term partner has to be extremely high. So, at the moment, I avoid relationships at all. I dearly hope I will soon meet someone who I think I will be able to trust enough.

The truth is I just don’t think football is ready yet for a player to come out. The game would need to make radical changes in order for me to feel able to make that step. The Professional Footballers Association say they are ready to help a player to come out. And they have said they will offer counselling and support to anyone who needs it. This is missing the point. If I need a counsellor I can go and book a session with one whenever I want. What those running the game need to do is educate fans, players, managers, agents, club owners — basically everyone involved in the game. If I was to make that step I’d want to know that I would be supported at each step of my journey. Right now, I don’t feel I would be. I wish I didn’t have to live my life in such a way. But the reality is there is still a huge amount of prejudice in football. There are countless times I’ve heard homophobic chants and comments from supporters directed at no one in particular. Strangely it doesn’t really bother me during the matches. I am too focused on playing. It’s when I get back on the plane or the coach and I have time to think that it gets to me.

As things stand my plan is to carry on playing for as long as I feel able to and then come out when I have retired. It was great last month to see Thomas Beattie raise his hand and admit to being gay. But the fact he had to wait until retirement tells you all you need to know. Footballers are still too scared to make the step while they are playing.

For the past year I have been getting support from the Justin Fashanu Foundation, not least to cope with the toll this is all having on my mental health. It is hard to put into words how much the Foundation has helped. It has made me feel supported and understood as well as giving me the confidence to be more open and honest with myself especially. Without that support I really don’t know where I’d be now. I know it might get to the point where I find it impossible to keep living a lie. If I do my plan is to retire early and come out. I might be throwing away years of a lucrative career. But you can’t put a price on your peace of mind. And I don’t want to live like this forever.

Good, very upsetting read. Reckon football will ever get to the point where players will be comfortable coming out?
 

Strongbow

Advisor to the Owner
30 years after Justin Fashanu bravely came out and this chap still fears kick back .... totally tragic is that !!!!!
 

Pumba

Advisor to the Owner
I predict that a load of people will comment on this thread saying something to the effect of: “What’s he worried about? I couldn’t care less what someone does in their private life, it’s what they do on the pitch that matters.”

It’s all well and good for us to say we’re better than judging someone for their sexuality and perhaps, as a community on here, we do regard sexual preference as something totally immaterial. The problem is is that there obviously exists some element of homophobia amongst footballing fandom. If there weren’t, why do we still hear homophobic chants ringing out from some areas of the terraces? Is it something that is perceived as gamesmanship, an attempt to rile opposition players and fans? Or is it genuine discrimination? The fact is that it doesn’t matter. Whatever it might be, it excludes people like the young man who penned this letter and makes them feel ostracised. And that’s just not right.
 

Henry Weston

Forum Patron
Patron
Assuming that there are a significant number of gay footballers I wonder if it would help if a group of them agreed to all come out simultaneously? That would perhaps lessen the impact/pressure individually whilst at the same time having a positive effect on the issue as a whole.
 
OP
M

Mancunian White

Glaswegian now actually
Patron
The womens game is miles ahead on this issue.
True. There is a certain level of acceptance over gay women over gay men though, sadly. Fans of women's football are also probably more liberal than their counterparts.

The sort of person shouting homophobic chants at a match aren't exactly likely to watch, nevermind attend, a women's game.
 

Pumba

Advisor to the Owner
I wonder if it’s the same bloke who set up that Twitter account professing to be a gay footballer in the Championship about a year ago?

That could have been a hoax mind.
 
OP
M

Mancunian White

Glaswegian now actually
Patron
I predict that a load of people will comment on this thread saying something to the effect of: “What’s he worried about? I couldn’t care less what someone does in their private life, it’s what they do on the pitch that matters.”

It’s all well and good for us to say we’re better than judging someone for their sexuality and perhaps, as a community on here, we do regard sexual preference as something totally immaterial. The problem is is that there obviously exists some element of homophobia amongst footballing fandom. If there weren’t, why do we still hear homophobic chants ringing out from some areas of the terraces? Is it something that is perceived as gamesmanship, an attempt to rile opposition players and fans? Or is it genuine discrimination? The fact is that it doesn’t matter. Whatever it might be, it excludes people like the young man who penned this letter and makes them feel ostracised. And that’s just not right.
It does matter though. Remember the rainbow laces campaign? Social media comments on that were vial. Look at any club's Facebook page when they add the rainbow flag to their profile picture during pride month. The players likely don't care, but a large number (although maybe not a majority anymore) of fans do.
 

Pumba

Advisor to the Owner
It does matter though. Remember the rainbow laces campaign? Social media comments on that were vial. Look at any club's Facebook page when they add the rainbow flag to their profile picture during pride month. The players likely don't care, but a large number (although maybe not a majority anymore) of fans do.

If you read my post, that’s what I’m saying.
 
OP
M

Mancunian White

Glaswegian now actually
Patron
I wonder if it’s the same bloke who set up that Twitter account professing to be a gay footballer in the Championship about a year ago?

That could have been a hoax mind.
He's says he's been in touch with the Justin Fashanu foundation, so they'll know who he is probably, and would be able to deny it if it was a hoax.
 

raefil

Shit Fan
Patron
True. There is a certain level of acceptance over gay women over gay men though, sadly. Fans of women's football are also probably more liberal than their counterparts.

The sort of person shouting homophobic chants at a match aren't exactly likely to watch, nevermind attend, a women's game.
Exactly this, I honestly don't think there would be a problem within the game but as racism is still an issue with some football fans I can see homophobia being an issue withfans too.
 
OP
M

Mancunian White

Glaswegian now actually
Patron
Exactly this, I honestly don't think there would be a problem within the game but as racism is still an issue with some football fans I can see homophobia being an issue withfans too.
Easy fix would be to treat it like racism. Bans issued by both the club and the police as is the case with racism. It's 2020 and there's men having to go their entire career without a relationship because they're afraid. Needs to be dealt with exactly how monkey chants are dealt with imo.
 

mozzchops

Manager
Anyone seen the Russell Howard bit on footballers and homosexuality. Gave a stat of something like 8% of fans asked would stop supporting their club if a player came out as gay. I’d like all clubs to ask their fans this, then ban any who say they would

You can't ban someone for their beliefs! If they think homosexuality is wrong that is up to them, and it's up to the rest of the population to change their minds in a civilized way.
I couldn't give a toss if one of our players was gay, bi or trans - If he scored the winning goal in the play off final he'd be a legend to me.
 
OP
M

Mancunian White

Glaswegian now actually
Patron
You can't ban someone for their beliefs! If they think homosexuality is wrong that is up to them, and it's up to the rest of the population to change their minds in a civilized way.
I couldn't give a toss if one of our players was gay, bi or trans - If he scored the winning goal in the play off final he'd be a legend to me.
Are you against racism in football? Should fans be able to make monkey noises and gestures at black players?
 
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