Fight against homophobia – Coming out: is French football ready?

The sequence gives an overview of the work to be done in France. On Saturday, May 13, Gana Gueye, the center of Paris-Saint-Germain, refused to play in Montpellier, donning a jersey in the colors of the defense of LGBT+ rights. A decision that caused a heated debate on social networks, where a hashtag (#weareallIdrissa), which accompanied more than 300,000 tweets, supported the free will of the defended environment to the presidency of the Senegalese republic. Three days later, in England, Jake Daniels (Blackpool), a 17-year-old boy, became the first active English professional player to claim his homosexuality since Justin Fashanu, setting a dramatic precedent met with defiance and leading the player to commit suicide in 1998.

This time, from Prince William to Harry Kane, the UK supported Daniels. †England has a more inclusive policytestifies Yoann Lemaire, the first amateur footballer to reveal his homosexuality in France in 2004. Let me take an example: at Arsenal there is a group of supporters called ‘the gay Gunners’. There are more than 500. In France there is no such thing. England is way ahead.“In France, if rugby, swimming or figure skating have already broken the taboo, professional football has not yet welcomed a coming out. Why?”It’s the sport of aggravated virilism, testifies Bertrand Lambert, chairman of PanamBoyz & Girlz United, a club that is open to diversity. You have to be a real man to be a real gamer, so you don’t have to be gay. These are the clichés that are conveyed in football

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The environment of French football has never been so gay-friendly

Nicolas Pottier, Mayenne District President at the FFF, is a former international referee who played in L1 from 2007 to 2016. Last week, he became the first FFF employee and former elite athlete to reveal his homosexuality. It testifies: “How do you expect a French championship player to come out when we’re called ‘dirty pd’ every week? This is the greatest difficulty today.“However, it seems that the mentality is changing. If homophobic songs continue to flourish in the stadiums, professional football gradually seizes the problem. In 2019, homophobic songs in Bollaert and a banner in Grenoble will be punished with fines.

And for several seasons, the League has been fighting homophobia with bracelets, laces or rainbow flakes. The UNFP joined the operation this year. †We went from an invisible problem, completely swept under the rug, to something we started talking aboutrecognizes Bertrand Lambert. The environment of French football has never been more gay-friendly, even if the FFF is still divided into two camps: that of Noël Le Graët, who does not understand the problems of discrimination, and that of his teams working on the subject. † Summons of Gueye to the Ethics Council is a strong gesture.

Religion, the biggest obstacle

In 2019, some Ligue 1 captains refused to wear the rainbow bracelet without causing controversy. The numerous reactions from the associative but also political world to the “Gueye affair” and the embarrassment of PSG prove that there is no longer any question of escaping the debate when important figures (Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann) defend LGBT+ already have supported rights. Last week it was Christophe Galtier, the coach of Nice, who got involved in the topic: “I expect that a player can declare his homosexuality in a dressing room, I have no problem with that and will even encourage him.

Kylian Mbappé’s rainbow jersey: the LFP takes the lead in the fight against homophobia.

Credit: Getty Images

In 2013, a survey by a French academic revealed that 41% of professional players and 50% of young people in training centers had a hostile view of gays. Today speech seems to be freeing up, there is now massive support in society, the political world and even, it seems, on the ground: are the conditions now in place for the first coming out of a professional footballer in France? †We are very close“, prophesies Bertrand Lambert.

A major obstacle remains, highlighted by Gana Gueye’s decision: the interpretation of religion. Yoann Lemaire, head of the Foot Ensemble association, travels through training centers to raise awareness about the issue. It testifies: “At our small level we know that there are gay players at the highest level in L1 but also in the centers. Even though there are developments, even though things are getting better, there are still children who put themselves above the law by relying on their religion. I sometimes hear, “It’s Adam and Eve, not two Adams.” While you have little control over it. It’s dogmatic. And then there’s the group effect…

You can’t ruin a sports career for 20 years because you live hidden in a closet

Another resistance: being the first will force the one who chose it to lead the way in battle. †I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a player to come outcontinues Lemaire. I did it when I was 22, I regret it today. He is then stamped for life as a kind of circus animal. It will go down in history, it will be complicated to manage. So yes, he will get the tweets of support from Mbappé and the minister, but if he is alone, in his room, faced with thousands of hateful tweets, when he will have to fight this battle all his life… multiplayer day out who come out at the same time

Football: rainbow laces against homophobia and intolerance

Credit: Eurosport

Last week Nicolas Pottier, former international referee, revealed his homosexuality. For him it was fundamental to speak out so that his example is subservient and others don’t make the same mistakes: “I was one of the two best French assistant referees until 2011, I felt stronghe testifies. Then my gay best friend’s suicide made me dive. For two years I didn’t know how to manage it. Everything I had buried exploded in my face. I isolated myself, dug in and went through hell. I lived with the fear of being exposed. Today I tell myself that you can’t ruin a sports career for 20 years because you live hidden in a closet. But my story is not unique. I believe a lot in the new generation, I want to bring a message of hope. Today I regret not coming out sooner. Today I say to the people in hiding: don’t be afraid.

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