Football is still not fully welcoming
Football is generally thought of as a sport that’s more closely associated with the male section of the population – particularly heterosexual males. Women seem to be accepted to a degree – in recent times females have become a more common occurrence at football events – but when it comes to LGBT football supporters, the narrative remains a taboo topic.
So much so, that members of the LGBT community do not feel welcome to cheer for their country at stadiums – that’s most evident with England and its LGBT football fans. Joe White – a member of the Three Lions Pride group – hopes that him and other members will help bring about LGBT visibility at football matches to each England fixture, as they normally follow Gareth Southgate’s men whether they’re playing home or away.
Homophobic chants are still a problem in English football and the Three Lions matches are no exception of that, per online sportsbooks in UK. The increased presence of the Three Lions Pride group during the national team’s matches should help make LGBT people feel more welcome, as they’re ‘fans first’ and ‘LGBT second’ as Joe says.
“We still hear chanting that is homophobic. People don’t understand the harm their words have,” asserts Joe. “We’re fans more than anything else. When we’re at the football, we’re fans first, and we’re LGBT second. All we want to do is enjoy watching our teams play, along with all the other fans. We don’t want to be here having to have LGBT fans groups – but they’re a necessity at the moment.”
FIFA should do more to in global education
England’s Football Association is fully backing the Three Lions Pride group, support which – according to Joe – has been crucial for the LGBT community. It shows that they’re ‘moving with the times’ and are ready to hold discourse on important issue that will allow greater inclusion in the sport.
When it comes the global football scene, Joe has his reservations about the efficacy of spreading the word on that same issue. Football’s governing body hasn’t been doing much in regard of educating the football community on a worldwide scale about the inclusion and acceptance of LGBT football fans.
As for the reason behind LGBT football supporters showing scarfs with rainbow motifs at stadiums, it’s a way of tackling homophobia, as Joe explains:
“It’s about showing that you might be thinking of making a ‘funny’ comment about the opposition player or fans, but if you do, you’re actually also making that comment about your own fans. And if you are having a go at your own fans inadvertently, you’re part of the problem.”
According to online sportsbook news, more than two in five individuals who considered themselves gay, bisexual, transgender believe that public sports events are still not accepting of the LGBT community. Stonewall survey from 2017 has shown that 42% of its participants answered that they think LGBT football fans and LGBT supporters in other sports are not entirely welcome at major athletic events.