This is a really unusual step for a professional team to make. Normally you only see the LGBT+ Fan clubs joining the LGBT+ Pride parades. So when we started talks with Reading FC, you can imagine the euphoria of our local professional team saying yes.
Why is this so important?
This step is so important for those who identify as LGBT+. There hasn’t been a footballer to come out since Justin Fashanu in 1998. This individual received so much abuse and he was so scared about being imprisoned for his homosexuality, that he went on to commit suicide. He’s like a dirty secret.
As with any sport, representation and feeling included is important.
When people with disabilities started to see themselves represented at the Para Olympics, more people wanted to get into sport. This is also happening in womens’ football.
When someone is able to be themselves and not have to hide a secret, it is proven that that person will thrive so much more. If a footballer is Gay, it is important that they will feel supported, so they can play. Right now any player wanting to come out, will have to deal with homophobia at a grand scale. This is putting anyone off from coming out, and we haven’t had anyone since 1998.
It’s important that we have an LGBT+ representation in the stands from the fans, to say that we want and support everyone to be able to play or support football without their race, colour or sexuality being used as a way to put anyone down, be intimidated or feel second best. Because they aren’t. Blimey, they’re on the pitch not you or us! Support them don’t belittle them!
We are hoping that Reading is going to lead the way and show people this is the #TheReadingWay and follow our lead.
#LGBT #HomophobiaVSFootball #rainbowlaces #prideinfootball #RDGUK #ReadingPrideUK #TheReadingWay