Thursday, 31 March 2011
But that was before Anton Hysen, a midfielder for Utsiktens BK, decided to publicly declare his sexuality.
Hysén, the son of former Liverpool and Swedish international Glenn Hysén, recently came out as Sweden's first openly gay male footballer.
He is only the second high-level footballer to come out in the world, ever, after the Justin Campaign's figurehead Justin Fashanu.
But reading this article from the Guardian newspaper highlights that even with strong family support and being away from the intense media pressure of the top tier of football there are still many questions unanswered.
How will it affect his football? Will opposition taunts ever die down? What impact will it have on his personal life?
Reading the comments in the piece it is clear Anton is a very strong-willed individual who is simply living his own life.
He says: "There's nothing to be a role model for – you're gay, it's not a big thing. People tell me I'm a celebrity now, and I shouldn't be. But as long as it helps [others by speaking openly], I'll do everything I can. If there's anyone afraid of coming out they should give me a call."
The support he has received has also been fantastic, which can only be encouraging for LGBT fans and players across the world.
He says: "Everyone has been very positive. I was on the train last weekend and this girl said: 'You've made the world a better place, thank you for being there for everyone,' and I haven't done anything.
"But when you think about it, I kinda have. Obviously I haven't been playing in the top league but I'm still going for it, and I'm still the only active player who has come out, so of course it's huge.
"If you're a real man in the Premier League you'd say, 'If you've got a problem, call me.' There has to be some way – whoever plays in the Premier League should try to support them."
A TV programme in the UK featuring Anton alongside Rugby star Gareth Thomas and England cricketer Steven Davies planned for the coming weeks will also further bring the subject to the country's attention.
The Justin Campaign has already publicly supported Anton.
Whether his actions will lead to a UK professional player coming out in the next few months or even years it not important. Such a decision is ultimately down to the individual.
But the key thing is that clubs and authorities see it as an issue and have a support network in place to ensure that anyone who wants to can do so with as much backing as Anton has received.
His lead has already shown that homosexuality in football is less of an unspeakable "taboo" but uncharted territory that authorities, players and fans should not be afraid.
Sunday, 27 March 2011
This week we caught sight of this report and survey from Northern Ireland.
The report by the Rainbow Project claims that one in four gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people hide their sexuality while at work in the private sector.
The figure itself is shocking for part of the UK which, as a whole, appears to have really taken steps towards a more equal society in recent decades.
It also highlights the large steps we still need to take before people can feel proud and free to be themselves.
This is clearly apparent in the comments from Matthew McDermott, equality officer at the Rainbow Project and the report's author, who said: "This should enable government and employers to consider the measures they think appropriate to improve working life for all LGBT people."
The Justin Campaign welcomes the report and these comments.
But we also must make it clear that this covers not just offices, factories, shops and public buildings where the majority of the population head to earn their keep.
It also covers all professional and semi-pro football clubs too, both on and off the pitch.
We hope clubs across the country sit up and take note of what is a significant piece of research and ask "what can we do" for its employees.
Education workshops and picking up on negative language are just some of the simple steps that would very quickly improve things for LGBT people.
Creating an accepting culture behind the scenes is as integral as having a visible presence on the pitch in the ultimate aim of ridding homophobia from the beautiful game.
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
The Justin Campaign is delighted to announce that Aslie Pitter MBE is to become the organisation’s new patron.
Aslie, who is gay football club Stonewall FC’s longest serving player, received his MBE, awarded for his work in tackling homophobia, at the end of last year.
On joining forces with The Justin Campaign, Aslie (pictured in red with Justin Campaign founding director Jason Hall) said:
“I’m delighted to join with The Justin Campaign. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The campaign is very important as we need to highlight the fact that, in sport as in life in general, people need to be able to be themselves.
Justin Fashanu had no support when he came out but hopefully now,
through organisations like the Justin Campaign, there is support waiting for players who do want to come out.”
Aslie’s new role with the campaign comes just after the hugely successful FA-backed Football v Homophobia initiative in February, which saw events taking place all over the world to celebrate the fight against homophobia in the game.
The Justin Campaign is honoured to welcome Aslie on board and is excited about this high-profile new-signing!
For more information please contact Alan Duffy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07814347566
Monday, 21 March 2011
German Football President Zwanziger Promises To Support Gay Players Who Come Out.
DFB president Theo Zwanziger has pledged his personal support and the assistance of the Association to any gay Bundesliga players who decide to come out. "I’d find it brave and welcome, if a football player came out. He would have the support of both the DFB and myself ", Zwanziger said before the Congress of the European Football Union (UEFA) in Paris.
On Sunday, a German TV show “Murder In The First Division” from ARD has the issue of homosexuality in the Bundesliga as its theme and Zwanziger was please to see the issue being covered in the media.
“"I welcome it, " he explained. "It is important that TV shows, with their audience of millions, show taboo topics from all areas of society because keeping taboos such as sexual orientation or depression amongst others hidden, is contrary to the ideas of freedom and human dignity."
In relation to whether players should come out, Zwanziger also said: “Whether someone wants to make his sexual orientation public, they have to decide that for themselves”.
If you'd like to hear our views on this or any other issue, then please contact Communications Director Alan Duffy on 07814347566 or at email@example.com.
Monday, 14 March 2011
So it is with pleasure that the following news reached us: a charter signed by national sporting bodies against homophobia and transphobia.
Among those signatures was Alex Horne, the general secretary of the FA.
In a statement, he said: "The FA and its stakeholders have worked hard over the years in providing football for all and ensuring that football stadia are open to everyone and are both family and LGB and T friendly.
"We’ve seen real progress over the last 20 years when it comes to tackling racism and that’s something football should be proud of.
"We remain committed to our long-term goal of removing all forms of discrimination, such as homophobia, out of the game."
Coming shortly after the FA announced its backing to the Justin Campaign's Football v Homophobia initiative, it is clear that those in the halls of power are sitting up and taking notice of the game's last taboo.
Praise must also be directed towards the coalition Government and in particular equalities minister Lynne Featherstone.
But quite what impact the charter has is another question.
Darren Ollerton, director of the Justin Campaign, said: "The Justin Campaign applaud this move by the FA to make public their commitment to tackling homophobia and transphobia in the UK game.
Whilst it is important for the FA to publicly assert their values around equality within football, the future worth in signing this charter will be seen in real change on and off the pitch.
"The Justin Campaign is clear that there must be real tangible outcomes to this move, and look forward to working closely with the FA to ensure that all points on the charter are fulfilled."
Show your support by signing the charter here.
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
The Justin Campaign is delighted to hear the news that Anton Hysén, who plays for Swedish 4th tier side Utsiktens BK, has decided to publicly come out.
Hysén, who is the son of former Liverpool and Fiorentina star Glenn Hysén, reveals his sexuality in an interview with Offside magazine.
Coming not long after England cricketer Steven Davies publicly declared his homosexuality, Hysén's move is another positive step on the road to total equality for all in football.
The Justin Campaign applauds Hysén's honesty and bravery and is sure that his declaration will inspire others to simply, and openly, be themselves whilst being part of the beautiful game.
We also hope that the Swedish footballing authorities will do all they can to support Hysén in the coming weeks and months.
For further comment from the Justin Campaign, call Alan Duffy on 07814347566 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the link to an article (in Swedish) on Hysén - http://www.qx.se/16969/fotbollsspelaren-anton-hys%C3%A9n-kommer-ut
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Dear Justin Campaign,
We read the entry on your blog and would like to explain ourselves. There is no doubt that the decision we made is hard, but we find it to be a proper measure to avoid harassment and aggression against homosexual supporters during European Championship, that would be hosted by Poland and Ukraine, in 2012.
As you know, conditions which homosexuals in Poland have to deal with aren’t easy, the best example could probably be the initiative of LGBT activists to introduce civil unions in Poland, the initiative that is being slowed down by the representatives of the government and as for the moment isn’t likely to be introduced to the parliament. Thus, as we decided, calling for raising the awareness about homophobia in football and launching campaigns so that we all could enjoy the game in safety, both gay and straight, would do no good, because – sincerely – hardly anybody among Polish officials cares.
Searching for solution of our problems, we thought of the stands that are on Camp Nou or the stadium of AC Milan, where the members of gay fanclubs can feel safe and focus on the game, rather than uneasily look around just in case there was someone who would prefer them beaten up (and that’s what happened to some of the members of Teczowa Trybuna 2012).
In Poland we met with disapprovement, not only from the side of other supporters, but even Polish gays and lesbians considered our idea nothing more but ghettoization. But none of them even thought that creating separate stands for disabled people (rather than enabling them to access all the
places) or VIP stand to divide the society, although it is division due to criteria of physical abilities or wealth. If we are all there just to watch the game, why shouldn’t we be there all together? If it truly doesn’t matter, who you are, and just which team do you support, why shouldn't we all be in one place?
What we care about is safety. We are threatened right now, and we want to watch the games of European Championship that would be co-hosted by our country in safety. We know what’s the situation of gay supporters and we know that Polish Football Association (PZPN) is doing nothing to improve it.
And we want homosexual people – both Polish and from abroad, that will come to watch the games in 2012 – to be able to watch the games in safety.
That’s what we believe Rainbow Stands could increase. We ask you for support us!
Tęczowa Trybuna 2012