Following February’s Football vs Homophobia action month, a Manchester LGBT football manager believes that continuing to challenge the stereotype is the way forward to achieving equality in football.
Whilst other sports such as Diving, Rugby and Basketball have gay role models, there are currently no openly homosexual British professional footballers.
According to 2011’s Homophobia In Sport, The Survey, over 2/3 of the 92 surveyed had experienced homophobia in grassroots sport also.
Manchester Village, which is one of 21 UK LGBT teams competing in the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, have been striving to challenge negativity in the sport since 1996. Manager, Rob Mcpherson said:
“We are proud to have won the local straight league we play in and we have achieved lots of success in gay football. Over the years the club has got bigger by having two teams that play regularly – not just one. Although the club is predominantly gay we do have quite a few straight players. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and have players of different sexual preferences and race.”
“We provide the players with an atmosphere and environment where they can be themselves and express themselves, and this in itself breeds confidence.”
At the top, however, Just A Ball Game? campaigner Lindsay England believes that people still don’t see this as an issue:
“Unfortunately not too many in sport are proactive in the fight against homophobia, or inclusion and visibility for LBGT’s, so there is very little funding going into work being done.”