Graeme Sunes says men’s football should continue to work towards creating a more inclusive culture so that gay or bipartisan players know they have the support if they want to come out.
Going to sleep, talking in it Super Sunday Discussion with fellow studio guest Alex Scott to mark the annual activation of the Rainbow Lace campaign, believes there are still many difficulties in the game over LGBT + inclusion, such as homophobic language and behavior in the dressing room, and fears that they or their club may be potentially attractive. Lose sponsorship deals.
A year ago, the former star of Liverpool and Scotland spoke Super Sunday Describes his experience of participating in the annual Brighton Pride Parade in August 2019, describing how such events organized by the LGBT + community “changed my attitude” by being part of the festivities.
Reacting to a video showing Hector Ballerin on a video call with two fans of Arsenal’s LGBT + and fellow group Gay Gunners, in which supporters described the challenges related to Match Match Day, Suisse said: “How sad it would be if you were something. Enthusiastic about but you can’t go over it because you’re afraid of abuse and you won’t be accepted?
“I teach my kids – ‘Every morning you get up, try and learn something’. I’m a man in his 60s, I want to learn.
“I went down to Brighton and it was fun. The cross-section of the people there, the atmosphere … I came away enriched for the experience.
“I had a very interesting day. I learned a lot, including about myself. The dressing rooms were homophobic when I was playing, and I’m sure some dressing rooms still have that part and parcel today.
“It will be really hard for that brave guy to come out one day.”
Scott, who has won 140 England caps and spent most of his career at Arsenal, says he has always found the women’s game to be a welcome one for LGBT + people.
In his conversations with members of the Gay Gunners, Ballerin mentions a high level of scrutiny that is under Premier League footballers, and also gets their attention on social media, and Scott says the contrast between men’s and women’s sports is significant and different.
“To add what players are already abusing – to add it (coming out), that’s another level,” Scott said.
“In women’s football, the fanbase is different. The fans who appear there are not there to do justice, but love the game as a spectacle.
“It in turn hurts players. They feel they are in a safe environment, and can be open about who they are and their sexuality.”
Recognize the effect of Rainbow lead And the dialogue that generates the campaign, Scott is encouraged to raise awareness on LGBT + inclusion for the benefit of everyone involved in the game.
“People shouldn’t go to football matches and they feel like they’re in an unsafe place or they’re arguing with people because they’re their true self.”
“People talk openly about it and are supportive of everyone – this conversation needs to happen.”
On the prospect of a gay or bisexual player coming out in public, Scott says the overwhelmingly philanthropic impact of such a decision could ultimately outweigh any concerns about negativity for that person.
“He takes it a brave guy – yes, they will be his victims, but they will open the door for others.”
Is a member of Sky Sports Teampride Which supports Stonewall’s Rainbow Lace Campaign. If you would like to help inspire others in the sport by sharing your own story of being a LGBT + or partner, please contact us here.