Saturday, 31 December 2011
Looking ahead to 2012, we want to make sure that we build on the firm footing that has been established in the fight against homophobia in football.
In particular we are looking forward to:
1) Building on the success of Football v Homophobia 2011 to make the 2012 event on February 19 bigger and better;
2) Working with football authorities and supporters groups to raise awareness about inequality in the world's beautiful game;
3) Using football as a way to build equality for all members of the LGBT community throughout society through workshops, education classes, talks and exhibitions.
Finally thanks to you for all your continued support.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
O'Flynn, in his role as Exeter FC's One Game One Community (OGOC) ambassador, will run a training session for players from the Devon Lions football team on Sunday in Exeter.
The Devon Lions are Devon's first and only gay-friendly football team. The team represent Devon in the Gay National friendly league.
The training session, which will be held in the city, has been organised by Exeter City's OGOC group, which operates under the umbrella of Exeter City's Supporter's Trust.
The aims of the group are to address all strands of equality including race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs. The group works closely with Exeter City FC and its Community Trust to promote a positive and inclusive outlook.
This approach has been endorsed by O'Flynn, who said: "Football should be about bringing people together whatever their backgrounds."Let's help make Exeter City a true community club welcoming to all be they young or old, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, disabled or able-bodied, with faith or without."As they saying goes - united we stand; divided we fall."
Exeter City FC marked its commitment to equality and diversity in October by making its clash with Rochdale its OGOC/Kick it Out fixture. Kick it Out is a national organisation aimed at ending racism and other prejudice in the game.
Devon Lions was formed in February 2009 and since then has provided a non-judgemental environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and heterosexual players to enjoy playing football.
The club takes pride in promoting equality and social inclusion whilst fighting prejudice in society.
It has worked with The Justin Campaign, which opposes homophobia in football.
Richard Cowell, Devon Lions Secretary said "This is such a fantastic step forward to have a Football League club helping make a stance against the homophobic prejudice still seen in the game.
"Exeter City have been incredibly welcoming of our prospect and cause and it sets an example to the rest of footballing world: that we can make a stand against the abuse regularly seen at clubs up and down the country".
Devon Lions FC are always on the lookout for new players, supporters or volunteers, so no matter how experienced you are, you will be made to feel welcome.
For further information about Devon Lions please contact the committee on email@example.com
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Head of professional game – Voluntary – part time approximately 8 hours a week
About the Justin Campaign
The Justin Campaign (JC) is the FA’s adopted campaign to tackle homophobia in football. We challenge discrimination and prejudice against LGBT people in order to create welcoming and inclusive football environments. We aim to see football and wider society value the contributions made by LGBT people. The JC is a fast-growing organisation working with partners at the highest level of football, both domestically and internationally. We focus our efforts on four key areas of work: grassroots football, arts, education and Football V Homophobia (FvH).
About your role
With the adoption by the FA of our key initiative Football v Homophobia, we will see a large increase in contact with professional clubs over the forthcoming years. Your role is to manage the relationship with professional clubs, and to ensure a joined up approach on behalf of the campaign. This will involve working closely with the director for FvH, and the directors of other campaign areas to ensure that we offer the most appropriate support to help professional clubs tackle discrimination and prejudice against LGBT people.
The Key responsibilities of the role include:
· Developing a strategy to ensure the JC supports football clubs to achieve our vision
· Developing a clear approach to professional clubs to get them involved with FvH and other campaign work
· Managing contact with professional clubs and their representatives
· Working with the director of FvH to ensure that FvH works for professional clubs
· Recruiting, organising and managing volunteers to fulfil various functions within the professional game team
You will have a keen interest in both football and the social justice agenda. You understand the importance of the work of the Justin Campaign and are keen to get involved. You have excellent people skills and are good at communicating over email and telephone to build relationships of trust and support. You also have the ability to manage several tasks and projects at the same time, knowing that you will be balancing communication with up to 90 professional club over the course of the year! You are a proactive, initiative taker who would love to get your hands into this project.
To apply for this position, please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter to Megan Worthing-Davies: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions please contact Megan on 07814 036789.
The final date for all applications is 1pm, 14th December.
We welcome applicants from both within and outside the LGBT community. The Justin Campaign is predominantly a Brighton based campaigning organisation. Volunteers will be expected to attend some meetings in Brighton.
Head of Fundraising and sponsorship – voluntary – part time approximately 4- 8 hours per week
About the Justin Campaign
The Justin Campaign (JC) is the FA’s adopted campaign to tackle homophobia in football. We aim to see football and wider society value the contributions made by LGBT people. The JC is a fast-growing organisation working with partners at the highest level of football, both domestically and internationally. We focus our efforts on four key areas of work: grassroots football, arts, education and Football V Homophobia.
About your role
This is an exciting role that will involve you working creatively and with initiative to secure funding for the Justin Campaign. This includes a significant role guiding the board about future funding options and possible charitable status. The role provides an opportunity for someone with initiative and ambition to make a real contribution to the future success of the campaign.
Your key responsibilities will be:
· To develop a funding strategy and increase the funding for the Justin Campaign and it’s key initiative Football v Homophobia
· To review the legal/charitable status of the campaign and advise best future options
· To research and target potential funders including charitable trusts, government grants, donor contributions, corporate sponsorship, supporter giving and other opportunities
· To work with the Director of Communications and PR to produce supporting materials such as posters, websites and newsletters to promote, market and advertise funding opportunities and events
· To work with other directors to identify funding needs and options, and to develop short- and long-term plans and budgets for the fundraising program and its activities, monitor progress, assure adherence and evaluate performance
· To recruit, organise and manage volunteers to fulfil various functions within the fundraising team
It is desirable that you have experience, qualifications and/or training in this area. You are an ambitious and motivated person who enjoys finding solutions to problems. You are excited by the scope there is to develop the funding portfolio of the campaign and for the opportunities there will be to use your own initiative to make a difference. You see the potential that exists to take the campaign to the next level of impact and influence through financial growth and are confident in your ability to meet the challenge.
To apply for this position, please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter to Megan Worthing-Davies: email@example.com. If you have any questions, please contact Megan on 07814 036789.
The final date for all applications is 1pm, 14th December.
We welcome applicants from both within and outside the LGBT community. The Justin Campaign is predominantly a Brighton based campaigning organisation. Volunteers will be expected to attend some meetings in Brighton.
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
For years the little Pacific island was known as being the country which lost 31-0 to Australia in a World Cup qualifying game.
But now there have been two major breakthroughs. Firstly the country officially last in the Fifa rankings has won its first game. Secondly, and more importantly, was the appearance of defender Johnny Saelua.
He is believed to be the first transgender athlete to compete in a World Cup qualifying match.
Media reports say Saelua is part of the fa’afafine, biological males who identify as a third sex that is widely accepted in Polynesian culture.
He is reported as saying: “The team accept me and we have that mutual respect - which is great. It’s all part of the culture.”
This marks a truly important step in football history. Transgender athletes have long had difficulties in playing any sport, something which is discriminatory and simply wrong.
One only needs to remember the media storm surrounding 800m runner Caster Semenya to see the simplistic view that many have on the issue.
Saelua's appearance shows that the views in global football are becoming more accepting to those who belong to the LGBT community.
The comments of American Samoa's coach Thomas Rongen were perhaps less helpful to this ongoing battle but do ask an important question. He said: “I’ve really got a female starting at centre back. Can you imagine that in England or Spain?”
People in more established footballing countries, whether they are fans, players or part of the establishment, have to ask themselves this question.
What reaction would Saelua get if he signed for an English football club? Would there be general hysteria or would people accept him for the committed and talented footballer he is? It is a question that one day we hope is asked as it will only help people realise that football is for all, regardless of who you are.
Government equalities minister Lynne Featherstone is running a campaign to get someone to design a logo for a national campaign to kick homophobia and transphobia out of sport.
Lynne Featherstone said: “Over 2,000 individuals and clubs have already signed up to the Government Charter for Action to kick homophobia and transphobia out of sport and I thank them for their support.
“The competition will help encourage even more people to get involved and spread the message far and wide that homophobic and transphobic abuse is never acceptable.”
More info is here.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
The Justin Campaign is encouraged by the news that two fans were arrested for homophobic chanting during Southampton’s game against Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary’s on Saturday.
We would like to thank both Southampton FC and Hampshire Police for reacting in such a decisive way to the homophobia, as it shows a willingness to act on the issue rather than simply give it tacit support.
Homophobic chanting by opposition fans during Brighton & Hove Albion games has, for far too long, been an acceptable part of the Seagulls’ matches, with action rarely taken by the authorities. However, in making these two arrests at St. Mary’s, Hampshire Police have shown that it is not acceptable to hurl abuse at a minority who have, for far too long, been excluded from the game we all love. Homophobic chanting is not ‘harmless banter’, it is offensive and damaging behaviour which has no place in a football stadium.
There is now a growing momentum behind the fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football, and the actions of Hampshire Police and Southampton FC have helped the game take another big step towards true equality in football.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
“Je suis homosexuel, je suis gai, a-t-il confié à Radio-Canada Sports. Je né l’ai pas choisi. Ça fait seulement partie de ce que je suis. Et ça n’a rien à voir avec le talent d’un joueur de soccer. Tu peux être à la fois un excellent joueur de soccer et être gai.”
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
According to research from the University of Bath the reason we know this is down to the assortment of coloured boots in the game.
As researcher Adi Adams explains: “There was a time when only black boots were acceptable and wearing coloured boots was identified as unmasculine, feminine and potentially indicative of homosexuality.
"Now there is a wider range and a greater appreciation of clothing styles among the players which is a good indicator about changing attitudes."
While this study may generate a nice headline on a news article, it also does have a serious point about it.
It shows that homophobia in football is being talked about.
However, the seriousness of the research must be questioned. Most fans, whether of fashion or football, would agree that the sport has come a long way from mega short shorts and the 1980s perms.
Off the pitch styles have changed, stadia have been improved, tolerance levels have generally improved.
But still homophobia is a part of the game that we all know and love.
Talk does not make change. This is where we must make a difference, lobbying authorities, talking to fans and providing support to any individuals that ask for it.
After all, change is a lot more than a different colour of boots.
Monday, 14 November 2011
Thursday, 10 November 2011
They are young ambassadors for The Justin Campaign, a Brighton-based initiative to make football safe for all people regardless of their sexuality and gender identity. East Sussex Targeted Youth Support Service and The Justin Campaign have successfully worked together to raise awareness of homophobia and homophobic bullying. Projects have included a ‘Tackle Homophobia’ tournament, which took place in June at the Wave Leisure Centre, Seaford (funded by East Sussex Youth Bank, applied for by a group of young people) and a weekly football session at the JOFF centre in Peacehaven (funded by Southern Housing Group).
The young men must be highly praised for their commitment to an issue many adults are failing to openly support.
Monday, 7 November 2011
In the past week there has been a lot of media publicity on the issue of homophobia in the game, from a member of Brighton and Hove Albion's supporters club asking for authorities to take homophobic chanting more serious to homophobic messages being displayed on a Crawley Town player's Twitter account.
Following these articles, Rod Liddle penned these thoughts in yesterday's Sunday Times titled "Equality takes longer than 90 minutes".
For those of you without a subscription or a hard copy of the paper, I'll provide a few extracts.
Talking about eliminating racism in the game, Liddle writes: "We're almost there but not quite. And the force for change has not been pressure groups or the Kick It Out campaign, but a gradualism occasioned by more black players, more black faces on TV and so on.
"You cannot conceive of yourself as being the master race when a black forward has just made your white defence look static and imbecilic, or when your local MP is black.
"And so it will be, I suspect, with homosexuality. For a while now the FA has attempted to outlaw homophobia at grounds but I suspect that this will make the chants even more homophobic."
Mr Liddle concludes: "You force this stuff on people and in the end it just causes even more resentment."
In a way I can see the point that Liddle is trying to make is that changes in society and culture result in more change than action by those in charge of the game.
A lifelong Millwall fan, he has seen the ugly side of the game up close, particularly through the 70s and 80s when it was a no-go place for many.
But in this issue we feel he has largely skewed his effort wide of the post.
For homophobia and transphobia IS now unacceptable in wider areas of society - even other sports - yet football continues to lag behind.
Not just on the field, but off it too, it remains a very male dominated enclave where any issues around sexuality are frankly just not talked about, never mind embraced.
The reason? Perhaps because football is the most popular game in the world, its authorities could afford to take the view they do not have to take equality seriously.
Note that does not mean they do put the issue to one side, just that there is little impetus for doing so from the financial point of view.
For instance, are sponsors going to turn away from the game if a high-ranking member of the footballing authorities makes a homophobic statement?
How much money did Fifa lose when Sepp Blatter made his infamous remarks about members of the LGBT community attending games in Qatar?
The actions of a number of activists and groups, such as the Justin Campaign, have played a major role inensuring this issue is now being looked at more seriously.
Bosses are now realising that football can be a force for good and, instead of waiting for a rap on the knuckles from the Government or being shamed into action by the media, football authorities can and are taking a more proactive stance.
The Premier League and the Football Association can use its global profile to spread a message of equality and show it can use this to change people's views, not reinforce them.
As one twitter user, known as Gixibyte, wrote when I posted the comments earlier: "The alternative is to do nothing. Which breeds more homophobia. Ignore the isolated minority who fume at anti-homophobia."
The club posted this article on its website on Sunday night.
The Justin Campaign welcomes this step and hopes it acts as a catalyst for more professional sides in all four English divisions to follow in the steps of Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic.
Saturday, 5 November 2011
According to a national newspaper, Hope Akpan's Twitter account read: "Gays all over the tele what’s wrong with Britain! Sorry I’m #FullyHomophobic."
The 20-year-old midfielder, who signed from Everton in the summer, has since deleted the comment from the social networking site.
A statement issued by the League Two club, on behalf of manager Steve Evans, said: "Having spoken to Hope at length, I accept that the comments were added to his Twitter account by a young member of his family without Hope’s knowledge.
"The view expressed on Hope’s Twitter account are not shared by any member of the staff of Crawley Town FC. As a club we do not condone discrimination of any kind."
A Justin Campaign spokesman said: "Homophobic comments, whether in football or not, are wrong.
"Even with the support of some clubs and footballing authorities, homophobia remains entrenched in football and it will take strong leadership for attitudes to change.
"The Justin Campaign is one of a number of volunteer groups that is leading the cause towards real change in the world's game.
"In this instance there could be a reasonable explanation but the Justin Campaign hopes the FA will look into this with immediate urgency and deal with any wrongdoing with utmost seriousness."
Friday, 21 October 2011
The Justin Campaign congratulates Wycombe Wanderers on taking a stand against homophobia and transphobia in football
The Justin Campaign is pleased to learn that Wycombe Wanderers have become the first professional football club to sign up to the Government’s ‘Charter for Action’ in tackling homophobia and transphobia in sport.
The charter commits signatories to challenge discrimination and work to rid sport of homophobic and transphobic abuse both on the terraces and on the pitch, so that everyone can take part in and enjoy sport.
Jason Hall, founder of the Justin Campaign said: ‘It’s really good to see that Wycombe Wanderers have shown leadership in demonstrating their support for the Government’s Charter. It’s a pity though that other professional clubs have still yet to do the same. It really is time now for them all to take a stand along with Wycombe Wanderers and ‘get with the programme’ “.
The Justin Campaign was set up in 2008 in memory of Justin Fashanu, the world’s first openly gay professional footballer, who took his own life in 1998. The campaign highlights how homophobia is still engrained in both grassroots and professional football and seeks to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around LGB & T (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans) people, so that the visibility of LGB & T people in football will become both accepted and celebrated. (thejustincampaign.com)
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Rovers was formed in 2008 aiming at improving the health and fitness of gay men and women, and to provide a space free of homophobia. In these 3 years, Rovers have come to the sport for the first time, come back in to the sport or transferred from other clubs. Football was in the blood of Rovers player Alex Mungall long before he knew he was a gay man, but: ‘Playing in a regular club didn’t appeal. I had condemned myself to watching from the sidelines. Rovers got me back to playing after a 20 year hiatus’.
A welcoming environment is the main difference between the Rovers and other sports clubs, and while that may be easy to offer, its impact is big. Victoria University’s Caroline Symonds 2010 ‘Come out to play’ study looked in to gay people’s exposure to sport and its health and social benefits, and it’s findings were stark. 26% of male respondents said there were sports they would like to play and didn’t because of their sexuality. Of these, the most common sports male participants would like to play were the football codes: Australian football (45.0%), rugby (17.5%), soccer (10.0%).
Melbourne Rovers President Heath Wilson says: ‘The Justin Fashanu Cup is important in showing young gay men that football can be for them too.’
Who is Justin Fashanu?
Rovers and Rangers put on this match to commemorate football star Justin Fashanu. Fashanu was the first professional footballer to come out. His 1981 transfer to Nottingham Forest made him Britain's first £1m footballer. In 1990 Fashanu encountered hostility after coming out. Many former colleagues spoke out in anger against him, stating that gays had no place in a team sport, and his brother John (also a top flight footballer) publicly disowned him.
Although he claimed he was generally well accepted by his fellow players, he admitted they would often joke maliciously about his sexual orientation, and he also became the target of constant crowd abuse because of it.
Fashanu’s died by suicide in 1998.
Fashanu’s story inspires the international Justin Campaign, designed to write a better story for young people thinking about making football part of their life.
Symbol of the international Justin Campaign.
With Justin Fashanu playing in Adelaide early in his career, and in Adelaide and Wellington, after coming out, it’s fitting that Australia’s biggest football match between gay players commemorates him. There is no stronger symbol of the impact of homophobic abuse in sport, and his achievements remain relevant because he didn’t let being gay stop him playing.
However, Fashanu is still the highest profile player to come out in soccer, and we are yet to have a gay role model in Aussie Rules.
Looking in to the headspace of a gay sportsman
Things are moving on. Last month, A-League club Adelaide’s new marquee import Evgeniy Levchenko’s showed support for gay players. Saddened by the suicide of Fashanu, and made aware of it when a friend came out in private to him, he has spoken out about the culture in which being honest about sexuality is taboo and it’s impact.
"I supported him before he made the step and he said "you know, for me it was just like living 25 years in prison," Levchenko said.
"So I understood him ... yeah, he was hiding all of his feelings and emotions all of his life."
"There are a lot of football players ... and with that there are gay football players," said Levchenko.
Also this year, the Justin Fashanu cup day program features an inaugural friendly women’s match between gay women playing in Melbourne leagues. This comes in the year when the Women’s World Cup was blighted by a Nigerian coaches boast of expunging the scourge of lesbianism from the team. The reaction of FIFA has been strong, if retrospective, however the swift exit of Nigeria from the tournament sends a stronger message: limit your choices at your peril.
In Australia, while no elite level soccer players have come out, and Jason Akermanis has recommended no AFL players do, there was a reminder here of the importance of countering this last month from the sport of hockey, where an affirmative action program has been proving effective.
Gus ‘the Goalkeeper’ Johnston chose to come out publicly via you tube video last month, after 20 years in hockey at a senior level for Essendon, including representative state level for Victoria. His video, hosted on you tube illustrates that depression and suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of their level of achievement, skill or ability to ‘fit in’.
Melbourne Rovers President Heath Wilson welcomes Evgeniy Levchenko’s support. “The Justin Fashanu Cup shows there are many gay players. The support of a top professional is important, and we thank Evgeniy for that.’
Justin Fashanu Cup teams after the 2010 cup was awarded to Melbourne Rovers.
Are things improving?
Melbourne Rovers men and women play within the adult teams of Yarra Jets in the leagues of the Football Federation of Victoria(FFV). Jets Secretary Nick Petroulias says: ‘The Yarra Jets are proud to host the Fashanu Cup this year. Clubs need to get the Fashanu Cup. We hope it keeps growing each year. We formed as a club a few years ago to offer everyone a chance to play football. Sports like football unite people and it’s future is about inclusion. But let’s hope Melbourne give Sydney a whipping’.
Senior coach at Yarra Jets is former Socceroo Hammy McMeechan. ‘All that matters to me is – what can you do with a ball. When I started my career, after getting offered my first big break, I was asked what religion I was. That stopped me playing senior football briefly. I didn’t expect 40 odd years later I would be coaching a squad with a lot of gay players, but they are good guys and some of them are talented players.
The Justin Fashanu Cup 2011 will be held on Saturday 22nd October, with the program commencing with the women’s match at noon and kick-off of the Cup match at 1pm. It is held at Clifton Hill’s Quarries Park and is free. Yarra Jets and Melbourne Rovers invite you to join us. For further details of the event: see Melbourne Rovers on melbourneroverssc.org.au
For further comment, and opportunities to talk to players from either team, contact:
Alex Mungall Joseph Roppolo
Player, Melbourne Rovers SC Coach, Sydney Rangers FC
(M) 0438834388 (M) 0408 444 892
Adelaide United's Evgeniy "Lev" Levchenko believes gay footballers should not fear coming out.
Homophobia rife in Aussie sport, report shows
Come Out To Play: The Sports Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in Victoria.
Friday, 7 October 2011
Jayne Caudwell from the Justin Campaign said: ‘’The young people I met at the City of Wolverhampton College, in the workshop and at the football tournament, are very interested in issues of equality. They were very keen to know more about The Justin Campaign and we discussed ways to make football a more welcoming place for all people regardless of sexuality and gender identity. They aim to do something on 19th Feb, 2012 (International Football v Homophobia day). It was a pleasure to met such a responsive group of students.’’
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Brighton and Hove Albion are probably the one side in the country which have the most to smile about.
Promoted to the Championship last year as champions, they have finally moved into a new home 14 years after the controversial sale of their former home the Goldstone Ground.
But, one thing that does not change is the homophobic abuse that its fans get at seemingly every game.
Using Brighton's reputation as the gay capital of the UK for "inspiration", Leicester City fans spent much of the match reminding Seagulls fans of the large LGBT community that reside in their city.
"Town full of faggots" and "Does your boyfriend know your here?" were just two of the chants from a minority of Foxes fans aimed towards the travelling fans.
After posting news about the comments on Twitter there was plenty of reaction from supporters of both teams.
One Albion fan said: "It happens at every away game."
Another said: "It happens pretty much every game. Only way to react is with sarcasm. Away clubs do nothing about it coming from their fans."
This is not to say the Albion fans were completely innocent. In response, a number of its supporters resorted to chants.
One Leicester fan said: "We get racist abuse galore,that doesn't justify it but there are idiots everywhere.How do you win that battle?"
Another said: "There's no place for hurtful chants but sometimes the tamer songs are just a bit of banter which no one wants out of footy."
A third wrote: "very embarrassing for us real #lcfc fans. As embarrassing as the weekly racist abuse we receive. All clubs have idiots."
But as always, the reaction is not always positive.
One devoted Foxes fan replied: "shut up u dick the Brton fans were doing limp wrist salutes back the Leicester fans. Nothing in it at all."
Another said: "It's football, not ballet!!! If you aint happy don't go!!!"
It is perhaps these comments which sum up the battle facing campaigners. Any football fan knows that chants and humour is an integral part of the fan experience. At the prices that supporters have to pay these days it would be wrong to completely do away with this side of the game.
But there must be some action when clearly abusive behaviour is so evident.
Why do stewards not step in if this is such a regular occurrence?
A Norwich City - Ipswich Town game last year saw stewards step in and evict a fan who was leading a particularly nasty chant about the campaign's figurehead Justin Fashanu.
Any football fan who hears chants such as those listed above should not be afraid to report them to the football club.
If the club's a re made aware by those that pay the bills then they will have no option but to step in and take action.
Monday, 19 September 2011
Ask any professional footballer and they will admit the hardest thing is deciding what to do on retirement.
Some remain close to the game, falling into roles such as coaching, management or punditry.
For many in the 1960s and 1970s the "in thing" was to run a pub or nightclub. Others take on roles such as postmen.
But one Belgian footballer has created quite a stir after hanging up his boots after announcing he has become a gay porn actor.
Jonathan de Falco resorted to the career change after sustaining an injury on the pitch.
Some may see it amusing that the former Racing Mechelen and Oud-Heverlee Leuven footballer has adopted the name Stany Falcone to appear in several adult movies.
But the reason for his change of track is a little worrying.
He told the Antwerp Gazette he hid his real sexuality while he was a footballer because: "The football world is not ready for gay players. There is too much prejudice and generally low tolerance.
"Since I was 20 I have been in gay circles, but when I played soccer, nobody noticed anything. If my orientation would have been known, there would have undoubtedly problems."
It is disappointing that de Flaco felt this way about the lack of support network within the game.
He is not the first footballer to admit that there is low tolerance for members of the LGBT community in the sport and sadly he will not be the last.
His new career is not the one most would chose but that is not say de Falco should be looked down on.
Ultimately his choice has given everyone with a say in the running of the game to think again. Why is it that a man can openly admit to being a porn star yet not want to admit to being a gay footballer?
It is a question that those in charge should not be afraid of answering honestly - something which de Falco has only been able to resort to after leaving the sport he truly loved.
Monday, 12 September 2011
As the popularity of the women's game has grown across the globe, so has the need to confront and combat negative language to those part of the world's most popular sport.
For while football has long been accepted by those with an X chromosome, women were long looked down on for even making a passing remark about the game.
But times are changing as seen with the popularity and skill on display at this summer's World Cup in Germany.
Perhaps it is this which has encouraged Fifa to take steps against bigotry in the game.
According to reports, the governing body of world football has announced it will look into homophobia following anti-gay comments by the coach of Nigeria’s female team at the recent women’s World Cup.
As mentioned previously on this blog Eucharia Uche sparked controversy on the eve of the women's World Cup when she reportedly branded gays as “dirty” and “a problem”.
Fifa has now decided to investigate the comments and the wider issue of homophobia in the women’s game, according to gay group AllOut.org. Much of the credit for this work must go to this campaign group.
It organised a 45,000 signature petition, a sure sign of support on the issue, and a flash mob outside a stadium during the women’s World Cup in Germany which urged FIFA to act over Uche's comments.
Andre Banks, co-founder of AllOut.org said in a statement: “Today we are excited to see FIFA take a first, critical step. By launching an immediate probe into coach Uche’s homophobic statements, the international governing body of soccer is sending a clear and important message: homophobia has no place in football, on or off the field.”
The Justin Campaign wants to echo to sentiment echoed in this above statement. It seems finally Fifa has its head in the right place and realised that football can be a postive force for all. But first the authorities need to show those taking part in the beautiful game the sme commitment its supporters and players do.
With the support of the world's governing body and individual member nations the sport is certainly heading towards a game everyone can be proud of. If proven guilty, any action taken against Uche will certainly be a step in the right direction.
Sunday, 4 September 2011
“I would not advise any gay professional footballer to come out,” he explains. “I would fear that he could end up like Justin Fashanu who, after he outed himself, was driven into such a corner that he ended up committing suicide.”
The Bayern Munich star’s comments are sure to provoke much debate, and the Justin Campaign would still hope that a gay player would feel able to be themselves and come out.
However, Lahm’s comments, while controversial, do raise the question – is football a comfortable and welcoming environment for LGBT players and fans?
Unfortunately, at this moment in time, the answer has to be no.
Thankfully the likes of The FA are now starting to properly tackle the issue, but for all parties concerned, there is still a long way to go.
Lahm himself made similar comments earlier this year, but his concerns are coming from the right place.
In 2008 from the Weimar Gay Triangle, a German LGBT rights organization, for his outspokenness against intolerance.
Therefore, however hard it may be to hear Lahm’s words, the Justin Campaign applauds the player for discussing the issue in public and adding an important voice to the debate.
England's 3-0 away win in Bulgaria in the Euro Championships qualifying game was marred with the home fans directing racist chants at a number of England players. Here Henry Winter, of the Daily Telegraph, argues that footballing authorities need to get tougher on the issue.
The issue of homophobia in football is slowly reaching football fans across the world. Read the words on the issue from self-confessed football geek Alastair Moncrieff, from Fife, Scotland, here.
In recent months, there has been positive language to originate from key players in the Bundesliga about homophobia in football. So it was somewhat surprising to read the German national team's captain Philipp Lahm state in his autobiography that homosexual professional footballers should not come out. Read more
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Monday, 15 August 2011
The Justin Fashanu All-Stars were also present to show off their footballing skills in their famous pink jerseys.
As well as participating in the parade, the Campaign also had an information stall on King’s Road, organised in conjunction with the Doctor Brighton’s street party.
The day was a massive success both in general, and for the Justin Campaign, with a huge amount of interest shown in the campaign’s work.After all the recent rioting troubles across the country, it was wonderful to see Brighton at its most peaceful and positive best!
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Japan's rise to the final, England actually playing for penalties (only to, unsurprisingly lose), Germany failing in the first round of a knockout - all unexpected delights from tournament football.
But one unnecessary and despicable action has been the behaviour of Nigerian women's football manager Eucharia Uche.
Allegations of a "witch-hunt" of lesbian players in the country, who proudly play under the banner of the Super Falcons, have been ongoing for a number of months.
It is claimed Uche uses homophobic coaching measures, even describing homosexuality as “very dirty” and “spiritually, morally very wrong”.
Yet still Fifa sits on its hands.
This is why it was positive to see a demonstration against the actions taking place in Frankfurt this week.
Leading the protest was the international gay rights pressure group www.allout.org, who are demanding an investigation into the allegations.
More than 100 activists dressed as referees in front of SV Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena and holding up red cards reading "Homophobia No."
It was a simple action against an issue which has been overlooked for far too long.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell perhaps summed up the situation best.
He said: "The reported purge last year of lesbian players from the Nigerian women's football team by Nigerian soccer federation official James Peters is outrageous discrimination.
"The team's current coach has also boasted that she is attempting to remove lesbian influences from the team. These actions go against the spirit that sport should be open to everyone and that players should be judged solely on their football abilities."
He added: "Fifa's silence and inaction is collusion with homophobic prejudice and discrimination. It has failed to act against the anti-lesbian policies of the Nigerian football authorities.
"Sepp Blatter and Fifa must insist that Nigerian football officials halt their witch-hunt of lesbian players. Allowing this discrimination is unacceptable. The beautiful game is not beautiful when it tolerates prejudice."
It may be that Fifa has its eye on other matters at the minute - most notably the allegations of in-house corruption.
But, homophobia in African football is not a new thing - the rape and killing of Eudy Simelane is just one incident of many.
But how long will it be before those with the power actually use the power.
We are beyond the stage where inactivity is an option.
This is a message to all the footballing authorities - this is an issue and you should tackle it.
For more on this issue:
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
The Justin Campaign has long been critical of Vlatko Markovic, the Croatian football federation president.
Last year the 74-year-old said in an interview that a gay player wouldn't play for Croatia while he led the federation.
He added he had never met a gay player because "only healthy people play football."
It sparked outrage not only from LGBT campaigners but also from football fans.
Uefa took the decision to punish one of the most powerful men in European football with a fine of $14,500.
When you consider the vast sums of money that the Croatian FA earns in a year through a variety of sponsorship deals and international game revenue then this amount was hardly a drop in the Adriatic Sea.
But still the footballing bureaucrat, who has since been re-elected to serve a fourth four-year term, decided to appeal the fine and attempt to get it overturned.
Thankfully, Uefa has seen sense and decided to uphold the punishment.
It is pleasing to see Uefa stand up to the diplomats who help fund its organisation.
If this ban had been overturned then completely the wrong message would have been sent out to football fans across the continent.
While the fine could have been a lot more, at least it still stands and is a firm sign that such comments are not welcome from those who run the game.
For if that is the message from the top, then what hope is there for those at the bottom looking for leadership.
But could Uefa not take a stronger stance and make this man stand down?
Their view is obviously no.
Uefa seemingly took the decision that it would be overstepping the mark to remove diplomats who have been elected by contemporaries, such as Markovic.
Any decision to reverse this would have no doubt overthrown the applecart and made its life a lot more difficult in the future.
While it is very easy to oppose this view, pragmatism, it seems, is the winner in this one.
But at least the officials in Switzerland have not completely ducked the issue.
Campaigners, fans, footballing authorities, everyone must work together if we are finally to bring some justice to tackling homophobia in football.
Friday, 1 July 2011
The reception had a strong sporting theme, with high-profile sportspeople such as Gareth Thomas, Ben Cohen and Billie Jean King attending along with the great and the good from
the LGBT community. Another attendee was Justin Campaign patron and Stonewall FC legend Aslie Pitter.
Jason presented the Prime Minister with a personalised Justin Fashanu All-Stars jersey (above - Jason is in the yellow tie) while he was also photographed with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone MP (below).
In his speech at the event, the Prime Minister admitted that the government needed to do more to encourage lesbian and gay sports people to come out.
The presence of Jason at this auspicious event was yet another truly positive step for The Justin Campaign on the road to beating homophobia in football.
Thursday, 30 June 2011
The “Tackle Homophobia” Day was organised by students from Seaford Head School in conjunction with the East Sussex County Council, The Justin Campaign and Brighton & Hove Albion FC, and took place at the Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford.
MP for Lewes, Norman Baker (above), and Councillor Colin Belsey from Eastbourne were present as local teams took part in a football tournament while other various activities took place.
Seaford F, junior tournament winners, receive the junior tournament trophy from County Councillor Colin Belsey (second right) and Maddie Jay, Young Mayor of Seaford (third left), with some of the event organisers. Photo: Alan Quick
Justin Campaign patron, Aslie Pitter MBE, turned out for the Justin Fashanu All-Stars in the senior tournament on a day that saw the local community, and in particular the young people of Seaford, work together to send out a clear message that homophobia in football is simply not acceptable.
To see more photos from the great day, go to https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10150299730023126
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, 26 June 2011
Thursday, 23 June 2011
On Saturday, June 25th, the University of Sussex is holding a five-a-side tournament in aid of The Justin Campaign. The competition, which has been organised by the Students’ Union, takes place at the Falmer Sports Complex with registration scheduled for 10:30am.
A number of local LGBTQ organisations will be present to show their support while there will also be a BBQ on site along with a table football table to keep everyone fed and entertained.
Then, on Sunday, June 26th, Seaford plays host to a “Tackle Homophobia” tournament from 1pm to 3pm. Organised by students from Seaford Head School in conjunction with the East Sussex County Council, The Justin Campaign and Brighton & Hove Albion FC, the competition will take place at the Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford.
The students secured grant money to host the tournament and will be joined on the day by MP for Lewes, Norman Baker, and Councillor Colin Belsey from Eastbourne.
As well as a tournament for the young people, there will also be an adult competition involving teams from The Justin Campaign, Police, Fire Service, and Seaford Head Community College staff.
A number of professional football clubs have also featured the tournament on their website. See Torquay United’s preview here.
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Hey you! Yes, you! Did you know there’s a whole other World Cup that starts a week from Sunday?
Yes, the FIFA Women’s World Cup starts on June 26!
It’s a thing that is happening, and you should watch it because, like its male counterpart, it will be full of highly skilled, impassioned play that reminds you all about what ‘The Beautiful Game’ should be about.
Maybe it’s just in the US and the UK, but the lack of international media and fan attention that seems to be surrounding the Women’s World Cup (minus the Playboy spread in which members of the German national team participated) is disappointing, although thoroughly unsurprising.
Maybe it’s just bad timing, with men’s league play just ending, Euro qualifiers on the horizon and Olympic hype overwhelming all sports coverage whether we like it or not.
Or maybe it’s the systemic inequity of women’s sports, the fact that fewer resources and advertising revenue will inevitably go to the competition than the male counterpart.
Usually, when women’s football makes the headlines at all, the focus, sadly, is more on scandal and salaciousness than success and statistics.
My fellow American football fans probably remember Brandi Chastain triumphantly ripping her shirt off after her winning goal in the 1999 Women’s World Cup more than the goal or the victory themselves.
As women’s football came to the forefront during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, all eyes were on German stars Inka Grings and Linda Bresonik for their love triangle with male coach Holger Fachs as opposed to their skills on the field.
But three years have passed and progress, although small, has been made —
on the FIFA Women’s World Cup official website, Grings is being touted as one of the stars of this year’s competition and the driving force behind the home country’s squad.
And she has the stats to back it up: Grings has won the Golden Boot in the Bundesliga six times and has been named German Female Footballer of the Year three times.
Much like Mia Hamm, Sissi and Hanna Ljungberg did briefly in the years following the tournament’s inception, hopefully Grings and her contemporaries, like Brazil’s Marta and England’s Kelly Smith, can turn the focus away from the ugliness of scandal and hypersexualization and towards the beauty and magic of the game we know and love itself.
England’s first match takes place on June 27 against Mexico at 6pm CET in Wolfsburg.
For those of us who lack the luxury of digital cable, BBC Sport Online will be streaming the matches. Or, host a watch party!
Watch parties are fun, and so is supporting England’s awesome female athletes.
Monday, 13 June 2011
For the first time ever professional football players have publicly taken part in a video against homophobia in football.
But this was not in the UK, but in France, where there have been a number of high profile incidents of homophobia.
Past and present internationals joined club stalwarts and team presidents in the video which must be seen as a milestone by all in the game.
In the words of campaign group Paris Foot Gay: "This video is the proof that opinions are really changing for the better when it comes to homophobia.
"Since the foundation of Paris Foot Gay we have noticed the strong impact that these attitudes and declarations have brought to young players and supporters.
"We give thanks to League One clubs the Girondins of Bordeaux, the Montpellier Hérault sport club and Paris Saint-Germain for their support.
"It’s thanks to them that this video clip had been realised."
There have been a number of high profile incidents of homophobia around football in France in recent years.
For instance, earlier this year an abusive banner was unfurled at an Olympique Marseille game.
This is not forgetting in 2009 when Louis Nicollin, the president of Montpellier FC labelled Auxerre footballer Benoit Pedretti a "little queer" on television.
It says so much about the efforts of Paris Foot Gay that the volcanic Nicollin was persuaded to appear in this video.
The video was produced also with a petition launched by the French Football Professional League on May 8.
So far only the Evian Thonon Gaillard Football Club has signed it.
But organisers are hopeful the clubs whose players appear in the video, namely Olympique Lyonnais and Stade Rennais, will follow the same path.
The players who appeared (in order) are:
Frédéric Thiriez (Président of the Professional Football League), Nicolas Douchez (Rennes), Sonny Anderson (former Lyon player), Dimitri Szarzewski (rugby player, Stade Français), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Matthieu Chalmé (Bordeaux), Miralem Pjanic (Lyon), Romain Danzé (Rennes), Ludovic Giuly (Paris) and Louis Nicollin (President of Montpellier).
To see the video visit here.