World Football: Homosexuality in the Game and the Public's Acceptance

Tony WhiteContributor IIJanuary 30, 2012

A legend no matter what his orientation
A legend no matter what his orientationStu Forster/Getty Images

On BBC U.K., a documentary has just finished regarding the concept of homosexuality in the modern footballing game. Unfortunately, I missed that episode, though the players that I follow on Twitter were kind enough to keep their fans posted on what was meant to have been an eye-opening documentary.

As such, it got me thinking, should it really be a shock or a surprise that homosexual men and women play sports?

The majority of football is played in free, multicultural countries where homosexuals are accepted in most aspects of society, except certain sports. The belief is that a "gay" is not a sporting type. This misconception stems from male insecurity, mainly in the changing rooms. It is from an age-old fear that homosexuals are sexual predators, always looking to turn a man onto the other team, as it where.

Another part of the rationale is that we look to our sporting heroes as role models. Some parents still believe that having a homosexual hero means that you have gay tendencies. This is not the case, as any Welsh rugby union fan will tell you.

Gareth Thomas is a 6'3'' (1.91m), 103kg former rugby union international from Wales. He played as a back, the rugby equivalent of a main attack force, and was a power house in the tackle , and a beast with the ball in his hands. In December 2009, he announced that he was gay. How did the world react? We didn't, not negatively anyway. It made no difference to fans of rugby that one of the game's best players was homosexual.

Contrast this positive reaction with that of Justin Fashanu. Fashanu came out in 1990 and faced a backlash from both fans, family and colleagues. As an indirect result of this, no player outed themselves until 2008, making Justin Fashanu, until his suicide, the only openly gay footballer for almost two decades.


It is reactions like these that keep football's image in the dark ages. There is a vocal minority of fans who are homophobic that will heap insults at an openly gay player, and they need to be quieted. As a society, we have shown our acceptance of homosexuals. As a collection of fans, too many remain bigoted. 

But, you may ask, how do we solve this problem? The answer is simple: less pressure, more status quo. Being gay is not a life style, it is a normal occurrence and should be treated as such. If a footballer comes out as gay, then he is gay. Let him be a role model for other closeted youths and players, but treat him, or her, the same.

I've had my say on the subject, now let us know how you feel. Keep it clean, respectful and, above all, rational.