Release Party: Offside–Let’s get serious: challenging homophobia in soccer–what some organizations are doing and how you can help

April 28, 2011
Two soccer players kiss after a winning game

Homophobic outcry followed a celebratory kiss between Gary Neville and Paul Scholes

Because soccer has a relatively low profile in the United States, there have been no studies (that I could find) about the presence of homophobia in the game. However, in 2009 noted UK group Stonewall did a comprehensive survey of fans, players, and officials to learn their perspective and experiences. The results are fascinating, and available for free here.

The homophobia in Offside that Adam faces as an out player becomes part of the background of his life, but when it is directed at Colin, Adam goes ballistic. Homophobia is a part of life in any sport, but it needn’t be. Certain groups are working to make the game a safer place for GLBT fans and players.

Here are a few:

The Justin Campaign (UK) Twitter: here

From the website: “The Justin Campaign was founded to demonstrate that ten years after Justin Fashanu’s tragic suicide in 1998, homophobia is still hugely prevalent in both grassroots and professional football.

Along with raising awareness the campaign has a strong focus on Art, Events, Education and football. Through these four key initiatives and some forward thinking strategic work with other inclusive sporting organisations, The Justin Campaign seeks to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around LGB & T (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans) people and work towards a future where the visibility of LGB & T people in football is both accepted and celebrated.”

Red Card Homophobia (web based, international in scope) Twitter: here

From the website: Our mission: to increase awareness of and end homophobia in football (soccer) and promote equality, regardless of sexual orientation, in the beautiful game.
We will work toward our goal by adhering to and promoting the following values: Acceptance, Tolerance, Equality.

GLSEN Sports Project (US) Twitter: here

From the website: Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project is an education and advocacy initiative focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. The Sport Project’s mission is to assist K-12 schools in creating and maintaining an athletic and physical education climate that is based on the core principles of respect, safety and equal access for all students, teachers and coaches regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression and integrating these efforts into overall school plans to ensure a safe, respectful school climate and culture.

While Stonewall (UK) and GLAAD (US) do not focus exclusively on sports, they deserve mention here for the work that they have done.

Find them on Twitter:
GLAAD
Stonewall UK

Please use the comments to contribute links and/or Twitter accounts of any organizations you know about that combat homophobia in sports. I donate 10% of my royalties for all my stories to charity. For Offside I will be donating to a TBD group that combats homophobia in sports.

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