On Saturday Stevenage Football Club is showing its support for the Football v Homophobia campaign...
Football v Homophobia (FvH) takes place all year round but February is its Month of Action and we are playing our part to help tackle homophobia and prejudice against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) people in football.
The aim of FvH is to make football safe and welcoming for everyone. In the past few months polls have shown that whilst football fans would be more accepting than ever of a gay player in their team, as many as 72% of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at football matches.
Using homophobic or transphobic language towards someone because you don’t like the way they play football, manage a team, make a refereeing decision or because of whom they support is wrong. It is against the Laws of the Game and can be a criminal offense, but most importantly, it can make football an intimidating and unpleasant place for fellow fans, players, match officials and administrators of the game.
In recent years, professional footballers Robbie Rogers and Thomas Hitzlsperger, both of whom played in England, publicly announced that they were gay. Both of these players have talked about the challenges of being gay men within professional football, and the impact that anti-gay jokes, language and chanting can have on confidence and self-esteem.
Welsh International Jess Fishlock has also spoken about anti-gay abuse she has suffered on social media and has said, “Homophobia in all sports and all genders is a terrible thing. It really shouldn’t be a reason why someone doesn’t play a sport and it certainly shouldn’t be a reason why someone gets abused for playing a sport”.
Attitudes in football are changing, but everyone needs to make sure that the language we use and the way we behave reflects this change. Fans can make a real difference to the culture of football, and we would like your support.
Throughout Football v Homophobia month and beyond, please help Stevenage FC by standing up to prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people in the game. Together we can make football a welcoming place for everyone.
If you witness any behaviour during a game, like anti-gay chanting and hateful or prejudiced language, speak to a nearby steward, the police, a club official or contact Kick It Out via the reporting line - 0800 169 9414 – or the Kick It Out app.
Remember, doing nothing only allows discrimination to get worse!
Find out more about the Football v Homophobia campaign and how you can get involved: