Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Education is key

In contrast to the last post, a London school claims to have eradicated homophobic bullying.

How? By informing youngsters of the truth and offering classes on diversity.

Kids are not stupid but they are products of their upbringing.

One of the reasons behind homophobic bullying in schools - two thirds of LGBT students claim to have been afffected - is because of a lack of education.

Until people learn about equality and celebrate important historical figures such as Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde, this will remain a serious issue.

This is why the Justin Campaign puts education as one of its major projects in the coming months.

A DVD about homophobic bullying will be available in February for use in schools.

We believe that football is a great tool to reach a wide variety of students on issues like homophobia.

Perhaps combined with the work displayed in Stoke Newington, huge steps could be taken to eradicating homophobia from all aspects our education system.

Is this really the message we want to be putting across to children?

Don't ask me how but our attention has been drawn to the children's TV programme Peppa Pig.

Apparently this is one of the most popular shows for pre-school children (and their stay-at-home parents) and now shown in 180 countries.

This episode, posted below in full, took on the challenge of washing a dirty white football shirt.

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When a red dress ends up in the machine, it turns the rest of the clothes pink.

The dialogue is a clear indication of the simple attitudes towards football.

"Pink is not a very good colour for a football shirt", says Mummy Pig.

Why not? - take a quick look at the kit of the Justin Fashanu Allstars and tell me that does not belong on the football field.

I'm sure fans of Everton and Palermo agree with us.

But it gets worse.

When the father returns home he is handed the shirt and says: "That's not mine, that is one of mummy's dresses."

Sure this is a children's TV show aimed at the mass market and trying to get across simple messages about how the world works.

But have we not outgrown these traditional outdated dividing lines between the sexes which is more akin to the 1950s?

If the above messages are put in front of children at a young age, they very quickly become embedded as fact.

This makes change all the more difficult in the long run.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Finally some honesty

Waking up this morning to a phone filled with unanswered texts and emails it was clear something had happened.

The reason: a frank and brutally honest interview by Chelsea's French winger Florent Malouda.

For those of you who have not seen the comments, they have been reproduced in full below.

When asked about homophobia in football he said:

"Before people couldn't even speak about that like they were rejecting it and saying it is not existing.

"People who do it are wrong, hiding behind religion to explain their behaviour against gays, but you have to accept people as they are and once you understand that, you understand our differences are our strength."

To reiterate, this is THE Florent Malouda, one of the best players in the world.

The significance of a top player admitting the denigration of people because of their sexuality cannot be understated.

Credit must also be given to the press team at Chelsea who did not think "oh no we cannot possibly publish this" but actually allowed a player to speak his mind.

Could it be that football club's attitudes are becoming more aligned to the rest of society?

In the interview, which focused on Kick It Out's One Game, One Community week of action, the eloquent Malouda was also very frank about fighting racism on the terraces.

He stated: "You have to prove to others they are wrong and don't accept it. You have to face these people and even if it is a battle, if you have to struggle, you have to prove that there is only one race and that they are wrong to doubt you.

"You have to speak about it. You cannot act like it does not exist."

These are statements about equality which have not been heard before from such a high profile player.

Quite why Malouda felt the need to issue such strong statements is not known.

The recent protesting in France shows that our Gallic cousins do things a little differently when it comes to disagreements with the authorities.

Perhaps it was Malouda, who was brought up in South America, feels he wants to give something back to the beautiful game to which he owes so much.

Or maybe the winger has witnessed homophobic abuse first hand.

It might just be that he sees now - he's 30, in the best form of his life and captain of his adopted country - as the right time to speak his mind.

Whatever the reason perhaps the tide, at last, is turning.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

These are a few of our favourite things...

A little off track from our usual blogging, just had to write a few words about this article.

Fantastic.

It highlights two of the campaign's favourite themes united in one news story: equality and grassrooots campaigning.

Ireland has long been a bastion of Roman Catholicism and the fact that a gay man is even in the running for the President is a real sign that the country is close to shedding its conservative tag.

Add the fact that Senator David Norris only put himself forward after garnering support on social network site Facebook, it is proof that the age of the internet means any campaign can snowball into real change.

The Justin Campaign is a grassroots movement, one that has grown through mediums such as facebook and twitter.

We are committed to ensuring that, in Senator Norris' words, sexuality becomes a "non-issue".

If Ireland votes a gay man to become president then surely eradicating homophobia from football is not too far away...

Monday, 18 October 2010

The ugly game

Fans of international football will no doubt be aware of the crowd trouble at the Italy - Serbia game last week.

Quite what the cause behind the hatred was is still not clear. But the spiteful, thuggish and tribal nature of the violence sums up why all members of society - not just members of the LGBT community -feel threatened by football.

The fact that some of this hate was directed at their own goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic surley indicates these were mindless vandals far right-wing activists rather than football fans.

It would not be wrong to assume the same people lighting flares were among those clashing with police at the recent gay pride march in Belgrade.

The losers from this violence will be the Serbian FA and its football team. They will be the ones punished with a hefty fine and possible exclusion from the championship.

It is up to the authorities to take control and prosecute some of these violent troublemakers to preserve the sport's reputation.

Look at the UK in the 1980s - it is possible.

But until Serbia - and other countries in former Eastern Bloc - do this the beautiful game will continue to be described as the ugly game by a large number.

Ignorance Isn't Bliss For Sochaux Player

While it's disappointing to hear the homophobic comments made by Sochaux player Marvin Martin, it's good to see that he hasn't been allowed to get away with them. Martin has been forced to apologise which is positive, at least!


Friday, 8 October 2010

Best goal ever?

For those of you who haven't seen this goal I have posted it below.

It was 1980 and Justin Fashanu had secured a first-team spot in the Norwich City first team.

This tremendous effort against Liverpool shot him to national fame after it was voted the Goal of the Season.

Sit back and enjoy.


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Football vs Homophobia 2011

Hello all.

After a wee while (ok maybe a bit longer) of not updating this blog we're back.

Last night was our second planning meeting for football vs homophobia and I can promise that this year's will be bigger and better than the last.

Already there are some very promising signs of support from the footballing authorities and representative bodies. With their backing it is chance for February 19 - the birthday of Justin Fashanu, our figurehead - to be an important date in the footballing calender. It is our hope that teams, players, and fans can unite under this banner to ensure football can truly and sincerely be called the beautiful game.

We are always looking for people to become involved in football vs homophobia. For further details please email us on info@justincampaign.com.