SRtRC Europe Signs Open Letter from LGBTQ+ People in Football

22 September 2020

The Show Racism the Red Card Europe is proud to be a signatory of the Sports Media LGBTQ+ open letter on LGBTQ+ inclusion in football and the need to change media narratives regarding homosexuality in football. We all have a role in creating a more inclusive football. Show Racism the Red Card is aims to tackle all forms of discrimination, thus including discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In our educational programme and awareness-campaign special attention is also directed to the LGBT+ community and the need for an inclusive environment.

Those running football need to step up and help bring about change.

This is how an anonymous Premier League player ends his letter to the Justin Fashanu Foundation, released in The Sun yesterday. In this open letter, the player reveals his homosexuality, along with the impossibility to come out publicly, as, « even though society has moved on massively (…) the game simply hasn’t ». The player addresses the « massive impact » on his mental health of living with that secret. This letter comes only 2 months after another anonymous Premier League player announced his homosexuality in the same newspaper, and the « absolute nightmare » of living a secret life. 

Sports Media LGBT+ released an open letter to recall the need to avoid sensationalist coverage of LGBTQ+ identities in football. The letter states that the searchlight culture is damaging and needs to change. As a group of LGBTQ+ people and allies in football, we know that there are moments when the game can be unwelcoming for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The culture of the men’s professional set-up can make it particularly challenging environment for anyone who is gay or bi. The Pressure on players from academy level to first team, the sense of needing to conform to progress, and the intense interest from fans and the media, are just some of the influences that might cause a footballer to struggle.

Show Racism the Red Card Europe takes a firm stand against all forms of discrimination. We believe education is key is promoting inclusion and tackling prejudices. Our educational programme, delivered to thousands of kids across Europe, addresses LGBTQ+ inclusion and tackles homophobia and transphobia. We will also provide educational material on the topic to grassroots clubs. Our aim is to help and accompany every actor working in the field of football to understand, prevent and react to acts of homophobia and transphobia. We added our signature because we want to create a inclusive and welcoming environment in sport for those who are struggling to come out.  

There are currently no openly gay or bisexual player in men professional football in Europe. Everyone should feel welcome on the field, and we can all work to make that happen.  

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