Maybe someone speaking danish can translate the whole article of Anders??
edit: the wonderful manics just did all the work. you can also read this in her comment...
Homosexuality and Football
I must admit that this week’s blog has been on my mind for some time. I’ve written several versions and I’ve had many discussions with many people about the subject. Especially with my girlfriend Missé.
Missé is a model and has been in the fashion world for many years - a world that, as you probably know, is extremely unprejudiced about sexuality. Many of her friends are homosexual and she has a very liberal view of the case. I’ve never had a homosexual friend myself, so I haven’t been as close to the subject.
Gay people in football is a very taboo subject, that we football-players do not want to engage in. The environment is very tough on the pitch, between the players and on the stands between the crowds. The mechanisms are primitive and it often shows through the classic stereotype that a real man is brave, strong, aggressive and loyal. Not exactly an image that a football-fan would associate with a gay man.
Last Monday evening I went with the Danish National Team to TV2 (Danish TV-channel) and DBU’s (Danish Football Union) big football-gala. The first ‘presenter’ on the stage was Lars Hjortshøj (a Danish comedian), who, not without humour, touched the homophobia that hovers upon the international elite sports, like a dark, invisible cloud. Something that people may have noticed on Friday night.
According to a Gallup-survey from 1997, 12 percent of Danish men think they’re homosexual. A great contrasts to the fact that, out of the Players Union’s approx. 1000 members, 0 of them are declared gay. The Union itself explains the numbers with a voluntary exit of the young gay people that do not identify themselves with the world that football is build up around, and the fear of standing up and coming out.
As a football player, I think that a gay colleague mainly would be fearing the reception of the news amongst fans. My general impression is that the players would accept a gay player without big problems. Most of them would say something like “well, you won’t be showering with me any more then!” in a joking manner, but that would probably stop soon after.
For me, the problem lies in the fact that many football fans continue to appear as a niche from past times with a tolerance, that does not belong with the modern society’s development over the last decades. While the rest of the world has been liberalised, civilised and less prejudiced, the football world still stands as a relic from the past regarding tolerance.
In a recently published study from ‘British Journal of Sociology’ an anonymous online survey shows that 93 percent of football fans would support gay players. For me personally, that is a highly surprising result that creates a very different picture than what I had expected. Although, I don’t think it’s right to cheer just yet, as the mechanisms of fan-culture are more complicated than that.
It is, for example, as everyone knows, very normal to see one teams supporters fight the opposing teams supporters and players. An openly gay player stands as a natural victim for psychological terror, as long as homophobia isn’t seen as a crime such as racism.
DBU is currently experiencing a great pressure from pro-gay channels to make them run campaigns that urge closeted gay-people to come out in football. I understand that the pro-gay people are very interested in getting gay people to be accepted in professional football. It would be a giant step in the right direction of a more general respect for diversity in our society.
DBU claims, however, that they won’t get involved in people’s sexuality by running such a campaign, just as they won’t get involved in people’s religion. But is that really what urging gay players to come out is? It’s point is not to get involved in people’s sexuality - the point is to state that hostility as a result of homophobia won’t be accepted. Just as racism isn’t accepted.
There are probably some who will argue that kids shouldn’t be confronted with such an issue - but why not? We teach them that racism is wrong - why not teach them that homophobia is too?
In Holland the football union has a more liberal view of the problem, that was supported by an amusing commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBuRSuFveCA
That Holland is a pioneer regarding this is not surprising and I think it’s worth thinking about.
By ignoring it we are not recognizing it as a problem. But naturally there is a problem if homosexual boys who loves football has to give up their sport, because they feel left out. It is, in all ways, a very unpleasant tendency that does not belong in a modern and liberal society. All discriminatory practises is and should be totally unacceptable, whether it’s about skin colour, religion, sexuality etc.
The gay people needs a hero. They need someone who’s brave enough to stand up and stand by their sexuality. And what is the problem with promoting this development? The state naturally shouldn’t get involved in people’s sexuality, but what is the problem about emphasising that we support and accept everyone no matter their skin colour and sexuality? Homophobia is hating on a minority on the same level as hating on muslims is. It’s the fear of something that doesn’t look like oneself. It’s ignorant and unfair and it comes from an inner fear for something intangible that isn’t dangerous.
Have a nice weekend,