Spain is considered a country with one of the highests rates of social acceptance of homosexuality, but this fact is often rendered invisible in sectors of society such as in sports, and especially in football.
Homophobia is prominent in football, and to demonstrate a sexual identity other than heterosexuality is still considered a taboo. Anyone who has been to a football game is sure to remember having heard the overused insult of “faggot” among others, and has likely been a target or spectator of homophobic situations.
How is it still possible that today there is not one professional, Spanish football player, active or retired, who has openly demonstrated their homosexuality?
This lack of visibility is due to a multiplicity of reason, among which include feelings of tension and violence against LGBTI identifying people in the Spanish sports world being normalised by the innaction of sports and club and federation authorities, and therefore acting to the detriment of an atmosphere of acceptance and respect towards diversity of sexual and gender orientations.
At the demand of athletes, sports institutions and clubs have increased campaigns against racism in order to reinstate the values of tolerance and clean play. The problem is that this tolerance has not been extended to the LGBTI population that continues to suffer discrimination, exclusion, and violence.
Most countries have yet to realise that the empowerment of their LGBTI athletes would promote their international status as open, diverse, and modern countries. Above all the empowerment of LGBTI people in sports would serve as a positive example for the thousands of young LGBTI athletes that find themselves confused about their sexuality and without representation in the field.
The “Real Federación Española de Fútbol” unlike the British, German, Austrian and many other football Leagues, has not actively sponsored any specific solidarity campaign, nor has it wanted to be associated with any private initiative against homophobia. In fact, it has been many years since it has answered any request for dialogue or meeting on the topic.