Football v Transphobia
07 April 2021
Last week was Football VS Transphobia Week (from the 24th to the 31st of March), an initiative which started back in 2019. Its main aim is to highlight the positive contribution transgender people make to the world of football as players on the field or as supporters of their favourite teams in the stands. Unfortunately, transgender people still face real barriers participating in football. Indeed, many suffer from discrimination, fear, and/or risk exclusion from the game they love. The FvT initiative shows how everyone from players, supporters, officials, administrators to managers can become active allies to support transgender people and promote their active participation.
In light of the current Covid 19 restrictions, the initiative focused mainly on online activities. People were encouraged to post videos, tweet messages, or share images to show who they are, what they do to be an ally to trans people, offer tips, and help football become a great place for everyone, irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation. The campaign also shared content for transgender people to start playing football, highlighting some of the playing opportunities. Education materials have also been made available.
A dedicated week to combat transphobia in football is an important milestone and signal. However, support for transgender people in football is something we need to show every week, not just a few days per year. What makes football so special is that it unites people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and beliefs. It is a welcoming space in society. Its positive effects can be felt way beyond the chalk lines on the pitch or the confines of the football grounds.
If we all play our part, football can bring about real change in our societies. It can breed respect and understanding – and bring us all closer together whilst we engage in what we all love: the beautiful game of football.