As excitement builds for the upcoming Premier League season, worries grow over the rampant and trending homophobia in the league and beyond.
In an article for the Mirror, Tracy Brown, Co-Chair of Chelsea Pride (the LGBTQ+ support group for Chelsea FC), speaks to her worries regarding homophobia in the league.
Tracy, who is herself excited for the return of the Premier League, fears for the homophobia “that will raise its ugly head once football season restarts.”
The football fan and anti-homophobia advocate went on to explain that: “I have personally been verbally attacked with homophobic abuse at football matches. I reported it, because the more we report these incidents, the more it highlights growing issues within the game.”
For a significant proportion of LGBTQ+ football fans, the uneasy and oftentimes fearful feeling that they or in fact other LGBTQ+ players themselves may be subjected to rampant and sometimes violent homophobia when participating in the sport is a huge cause for concern.
Tracy goes on to write that: “A new report from the PFA [Professional Footballers Association] highlighted homophobia is the most common form of abuse aimed at footballers online.”
“It is a disgrace,” the Co-Chair went on to articulate. “If you were a gay man who played for a Premier League club, why would you feel comfortable to come out?”
In highlighting that this type of rampant homophobia does not just affect the players themselves, Tracy goes on to explain that:
“The word ‘banter’ is thrown around all too much in football. I now hate this word. Homophobic chants like ‘Chelsea Rent Boys’, which are often passed as ‘banter’ have an extremely negative impact on the LGBTQ+ community. I myself feel extremely uncomfortable hearing this. I also hear from other Chelsea LGBTQ+ fans who tell me of the negative impact this has on them and how they feel when they come to football.”
But, what do Tracy and her association plan to do about it? Well, while Tracy explains that “the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not recognise this chant as being homophobic”, she plans to challenge that decision. Arguing that changing their stance on the chant will “give the FA, Premier League, EFL and powers beyond the chance to combat the issues around homophobia, biphobia and transphobia”, Tracy wants to “see acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community.”
“I love the game. I have been going to football since I was a young kid but I want to see a game where everyone is welcome, where we come away from the game happy or sad depending on the result – and that being the only talking points. Not the negatives of discrimination.”
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