Jürgen Klopp meets with Liverpool's LGBTQ+ fan group founder to discuss homophobic chants
24 August 2021
Last weekend, Liverpool-supporters sang homophobic chants during their away game with Norwich City. Target of the homophobic chants was Billy Gilmour, the Norwich midfielder that is on-loan from Chelsea. Over the years multiple Chelsea players, often loan players from Chelsea, have been the target of the homophobic slur ‘rent boy’.
In response to the homophobic slurs, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp sat down with Paul Amann, founder of Kop Outs, the LGBTQ+ fan group of Liverpool. During their talk, Amann explained that the terms are offensive and are in contrasts with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” motto of the club. He says many of my fellow LGBTQ+ fans “have expressed discomfort at being at the match, or no longer want to go.”
Klopp urges Liverpool supporters not to sing the song anymore, as it is of no help to the team. He said, “we can decide now: this is not our song anymore. I’m not sure if people listen to me but it would be nice. I don’t want to hear it anymore for so many reasons. Obviously we live in a time where we learn a lot in the moment. I’m 54 now and when I was 20 we said so many things which we didn’t think about and meanwhile, thank God, 34 years later we learn it’s just not right to say, even when you didn’t think what other people think is behind the message. But it’s still not right and that’s how we should see that as well.”
Jürgen Klopp met with @LFC_LGBT this week to discuss the incident of homophobic chanting at Norwich City.— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 19, 2021
The pair discuss the impact of such chants on LGBT+ supporters, why they should not occur again, and the importance of inclusivity. #RedTogether pic.twitter.com/J5Axce1PqR
Why is the term offensive and where does it come from?
Di Cunningham, founder of the Proud Canaries, the lgbtq+ fan group of Norwich City explains where the term comes from, why in particular Chelsea players are targeted and why it is offensive. According to Cunningham, people started using the term after a Chelsea hooligan was seen in bed with a male sex worker, so it became something other fans used to demean Chelsea fans. “It became a taunt essentially saying, Chelsea fans are all gay”.
As Kop Outs founder Paul Amann explained in his talk with Jürgen Klopp, the term has a negative connotation towards gay people. Hearing fans sing offensive chants in the stadium makes certain supporters feel like being left in the cold. “What people don’t necessarily realise is that it’s chanted at the player – but actually the people who hear it are fellow fans like myself, who then go from hearing You’ll Never Walk Alone and being embraced in fanhood and that fantastic atmosphere to then suddenly being left in the cold. It’s as if a bucket of cold water has been thrown over you in terms of the emotional state that hits you with. Because it’s such an unnecessary and vile chant that leaves too many gay fans absolutely out in the cold. And it’s wrong.”