According to a 2016 survey by BBC Radio 5 Live, 92% of British fans would no have any problem with a homosexual football player playing in their favourite football team. Furthermore, 71% believe that football clubs should “do more” to educate and inform fans about homophobia.
Paradoxically, even though the majority of football fans say that they are not homophobic and position themselves against homophobia, many of them do not hesitate to shout homophobic songs at the top of their lungs. Their weak excuse is that they’re just provoking the players on the opposite team.
It is very important the professional football players find support and understanding in the stands in order to visualise themselves in freedom. Luckily, the LGBTI fan clubs of professional soccer teams are making moves in that direction. The goal of this LGBTI fanclub is to integrate themselves in the stands of the clubs they are followers of; to launch messages against homophobia in the sport, and in favour of tolerance and acceptance of sexual diversity; and above all to demonstrate to the cisgendered, straight, and sexist sports world that professional football is ready to show the side of it that is often invisible, but that exists in all areas of society societies.
Only a third of the 92 professional football clubs in England have LGBT fanclubs. The “Gay Gooners” of Arsenal were the first in England in 2013. Later similar organizations appeared for teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Norwich City, and Chelsea.
There are also LGBT fan clubs in the Bundesliga in Germany. For example, in 2013 “Herta-Junxx” fans of Herta BSC Berlin, the “Rainbow Borussen” fans of Borussia Dortmund, the “Andersrum auf Schalke” fans of Schalke 04, the Queerpass St. Pauli” fans of F.C St Pauli of Hamburg, and the “Sturgatters Junxx” fans of VfB Stuttgart.
In Spain, the pioneering group started in 2007 was “Penya Blaugrana de Gais i Lesbianes” fans of FC Barcelona. In 2015, they were followed by “La Peña Nenas Cadistas” fans of C.F Cádiz. Several groups were created in 2017 including: “La Peña LGTB” ans of Valencia C.F., “la Plataforma RCDE LGBTI del Espanyol”, and “la Peña ‘Atléticxs LGBTI’ ” fans of Atlético de Madrid.
EL COMPROMISO DE LOS CLUBES
On the other hand, it is very important that each club actively fights against homophobia in football, that they carry out actions and campaigns to inform their fans, and that they offer support to their athletes so that they can freely come out of the closet.
Rayo Vallecano de Madrid/CD Guadalajara:
In 2015, the Ray Vallecano, a team always associated in social causes, presented their new football equipment, decorated with the 6 colours of the rainbow in order to support “the anonymous heroes”, representing different social aspects: against AIDS, against cancer, for the integration of disabled people, for the environment, against child abuse, against gender and sexual orientation based violence. Also in 2015, the Second Division B team of the League, the club team Deportivo Guadalajara, revealed their t-shirts with a 7 coloured rainbow in order to “fight against homophobia in football”.