Is there a homophobia problem in PE classes?




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Homophobic remarks are flung around on a regular basis”

“Homophobic remarks are flung around on a regular basis”

A new article, part of a PE and school sports series by the Guardian, looks at ways to stop school pupils ‘climbing the school gates’ to avoid PE lessons. Among other reasons, such as unflattering uniforms and limited variety of activities, the article suggests that homophobia in changing rooms prevents some pupils from taking part in PE.

The anonymous writer begins: “The bell rings and once again I have to make the decision whether to climb the school gates or walk to my physical education (PE) lesson. I am not averse to sport – in fact I like keeping fit on the weekends and I’m pretty healthy. But the culture around PE in school means it has become my worst nightmare”

He goes on to explain why: “I am an openly gay teenager and getting changed in front of the other boys, with no privacy, makes me feel desperately uncomfortable.

“Homophobic remarks are flung around on a regular basis, with boys calling each other ‘faggot’ and saying ‘I bet certain boys love it in the changing rooms.’”

The writer suggests a simple remedy for this problem: “A zero-tolerance policy against homophobic slurs and body shaming – even if it’s so-called banter – would make the changing room a more comfortable environment for everyone.”

This insight into the changing rooms comes at a time when more sports stars than ever are publicly discussing their sexualities. Just in the last few months, Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy, and rugby players Keegan Hirst and Sam Stanley have all publicly come out as gay. There have also been rumours swirling that two high-profile football players are preparing to come out.

The Guardian’s PE and school sports series is funded by the Youth Sports Trust.


Why not write and let us know your experiences!


ISIS Stone Two "Gay" Men To Death On Tarpaulin

the-gay-uk-logoBy The Gay UK, Oct 27 2015 01:59PM



Pictures have emerged of two men, their hands bound behind their backs, rocks surrounding their bloody, lifeless bodies. Their crime? Accused of being gay by the so-called Islamic State.

Warning report contain distressing images.
Pictures of the lifeless, bloodied bodies of two men, accused by ISIS fighters of being gay have emerged on social media. The two men were executed by stoning, with their hands bound behind their backs and blindfolded, on top of a tarpaulin in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria.
Violence against gay men, or those accused of being gay, by the Islamic state has increased in 2015, with well attended public executions usually concluding with the victims being thrown off the tallest buildings in the area. If the victims survive the surrounding crowds often stone them to death.

Last month 10 males included a 15-year-old boy were murdered, in the most violent day against gay men in territories controlled by the so-called Islamic State, which adopts Sharia Law. Homosexuality is illegal in states and countries that adopt Sharia law.


Islam’s legal system, derived from the Koran

Informs every aspect of Muslims’ lives

Islamic jurists issue formal guidance through fatwas, or religious edicts

Sharia law includes provisions for capital and corporal punishment but modern scholars say getting to that stage can be difficult

Marriage is treated as a contract in Islam

From The BBC
It was announced last week that sex between consenting Muslim same-sex adults in the Indonesian province of Aceh, could attract 100 lashes as the province adopted Sharia law.


Why is the UK Government silent on Russian Anti-Gay Excesses?

Anti-gay protesters attack a policeman during the so-called Equality March, organized by a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 6, 2015

 Editorial: I have written before and put up articles about how the Russian government is orchestrating and allowing attacks on the LGBT population – the latest action has taken place in Kiev. Indeed, Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, has even drawn attention to Britain’s silence on the anti-gay violence in Ukraine!

Whilst the British government in the past has drawn attention to Russia’s 2013 law on “gay propaganda”, which is similar to that of several US states, this time around they have been noticeably reticent.  

I would ask you to sign up to one of the various campaigns in the country, sing up for newsletters, make your views known.  Abuse, no matter which sector of the community it is aimed, at, is not acceptable.

Check out this video Channel 4’s programme by Matt Frei ‘Anti-gay campaign shows Russia’s worst side’:

What do you think?  Let us know your thoughts, STOP ABUSE NOW!!

UK Poll Shows Alarming Racism in Gay Community

Editorial:  Are you a racist, have you allowed racism to go unchallenged when you have heard it being said?  We would be the first to complain (hopefully) if we overheard homophobia being discussed as acceptable.  We mustn’t loose sight of the fact that we are all supposed to be ‘equal’ and that we must treat everyone as equal!


Tuesday Jun 9, 2015

 (Source:Noah Berger/AP)

(Source:Noah Berger/AP)

As much as the global LGBT community prides itself on inclusiveness and tolerance, results from a new poll show that while we like to see ourselves as wrapped in a rainbow, color is still an issue with many gay men.

A recent survey taken by the U.K.-based FS magazine which polled over 850 white, black, Asian, South Asian, Arab and mixed race gay men, shows an alarming amount of racial and sexual stereotyping among gay males. Results of the survey showed that more than two-thirds of non-whites surveyed experienced racism from within the LGBT community in the U.K. with 80% of blacks and 79% of Asians reporting the highest incidences of racism. As a minority group, hispanics reported the lowest incidences of racism with 35%.

An interactive poll on the FS website shows 87% of readers agree that the gay community is in someway racist.

The report also points to a disturbing trend where pick-up apps like Grindr were a prime vehicle for sexual racism.
“I’ve been blocked on apps because I am South East Asian,” says Ari, 39 from London, “or thought of as Muslim, even though I am not a Muslim. I have had abuse sent through messages, saying ‘go back home Paki’ or a question asking if Allah is happy I am on here.”

The FS poll is a follow-up to a previous study conducted by the publication where 400 white men were polled about sexual stereotypes.

When asked about stereotypes within ethnic groups, the respondents said:
• Black men have large cocks: 78% of white gay men in our survey believe this to be true.
• Asian men have smaller than average cocks: 75% believe this to be true.
• Latin men are crazy, wild and passionate: 70% of white gay men believe this to be true.
• Mixed race men are more likely to be accepted by white men: 67% believe this to be true.
• Black men are more active, strong and dominant in the bedroom: 60% of white gay men believe this to be true.
• Asian men are mostly submissive bottoms: 56% believe this to be true.
• Arab men aren’t gay if they’re top only: 35% thought this to be true.
• Latin men are mostly rent boys or in it for a passport: 10% of white gay men believe this is true.

While the FS polls only surveyed gay men in the U.K., the results are mirrored across the ocean in the United States where, according to Wikipedia , many people experience racism in the dominant LGBT community where racial stereotypes merge with gender stereotypes, such that Asian-American LGBTs are viewed as more passive and feminine, while African-American LGBTs are viewed as more masculine and aggressive.


Vodafone blocks LGBT website and redirects to ad for ‘flirty’ dating service

PinkNews Exclusive.

Mobile phone network Vodafone has restricted access to an LGBT community website to over-18s – instead showing ads for a “flirty” dating website.

A PinkNews reader spotted that the website – which provides information on services for the LGBT community in the UK – appeared to be blocked by the provider.

A standard message received when trying to access the website states: “You are not able to access this service because VodafoneContent control is in place. If you’re 18 years or over, you can easily remove Vodafone Content control by going to the ‘About Content control’ link below for further information and details about how to remove it.”

The network requires people to prove their identity with a credit card and another form of ID in order to de-activate the filters.

Despite the perfectly child-friendly website only being accessible to over-18s, ironically the filtering page itself shows a number of ads for over-18 dating websites that remain unblocked.

When PinkNews attempted to view the page, Vodafone message was above an ad for raunchy-sounding dating site “FlirtFinder” – which was unfiltered despite its terms and conditions banning users 17 and under.

Another user received an ad for – also unfiltered – which operates a strict over-18s policy.

Peter Burnett of told PinkNews: “We started the site in 2006 to deal with prejudice that was built into the tax and pensions system, as well as to campaign for civil partnership and equal marriage. We also discuss holidays and investments, as well as financial ideas for couples, which is our speciality.

“Of course, we haven’t got anything at all barely even saucy on the site, but because we use the terms lgbt, gay and transgender, for example, in our site metadata, providers and others sometimes block us.

“It is incredibly infuriating, not because we’re being blocked, but because it is exactly the sort of prejudice we dislike the most – instiutional assumptions made about millions of people, and not based on reason.”

He added: “Being blocked by Vodafone is careless and prejudiced use of metadata, with their engineers assuming that because our market is LGBT, we must be peddling porn, or something, I don’t know what. It’s so offensive.

“To be honest, any of many LGBT sites are at risk of this, and that is an ugly thought.

“I’m talking about forums, advice sites, clothing sites, news sites, help and information sites, and Vodafone should do their job and examine each site they block. There are also lists of adult sites they can consult, and we wouldn’t be on any of these.”

“Except that we are now on theirs, I am sad to say. I have challenged them of course to find any adult content on the site, which offers financial advice, and I await their response.”

Other LGBT-focussed websites including PinkNews and Stonewall appeared to still be accessible.

A Vodafone spokesperson told PinkNews: “Vodafone UK, along with the rest of the UK mobile operators use the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to define which content is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18.

“We use a third party supplier to provide automated technology to block sites which are unsuitable under that rating system and have recently changed our supplier, which clearly has slightly different categories than those of the provider we used before.

“We believe that the new automated system blocked this site by mistake and we have gone back to our supplier to ensure it is unbarred with immediate effect.”

‘Does Your Boyfriend Know You Are Here?': The Fight Against Casual Homophobia In English Soccer



Eight years in the Upton Park stands, and Jim Dolan had never heard anything like this.

A fan behind them spent most of the match showering players, the referee, the linesmen — anyone and everyone on the pitch, really — with homophobic abuse. Not merely slurs. “Vicious, horrible abuse.”

Dolan had listened before to his gay friends who said they stayed away from soccer matches because of that sort of behavior. But he never heard anything that made him reconsider his place at the match himself.

“For the first time, I felt helpless,” he recounted. If he challenged the screamer, “would everyone around me support me? Or would they join in with this guy?”

He fired off a few tweets. Across England, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender fans of other clubs had organized supporters groups. Would any West Ham fans want to do the same?

I met Dolan at Upton Park on a chilly, windy Saturday afternoon at the end of February, a season after he sat through one fan’s abuse wishing he could do something.

By now, he has. The positive response to his initial tweets, with the help of an outside network that supports gay soccer fans, turned into a fledgling supporters’ group of gay and lesbian West Ham fans. On this day, before West Ham took the pitch to face Crystal Palace, the fans who call themselves Pride of Irons would become the latest LGBT group to earn the official support of the club they love. Pride of Irons swelled to more than 40 members by the time they met with club officials in December, and now West Ham welcomed the members onto the pitch, where club chairman David Gold joined them briefly to chat and take pictures.

The concept of organized fan groups is instrumental to English soccer — clubs like West Ham list dozens of supporters associations on their web sites. Gay and lesbian fans have surely been a part of them in the past. But after decades of watching the progress that has taken England to the world’s forefront of LGBT equality fail to expand its reach into the country’s most popular sport, LGBT fans have spent the last two years coming out.

Groups like Pride of Irons have sprouted at clubs across the country, taking a central role in the fight against anti-gay discrimination in soccer and blasting a simple message: We are fans too.

Members of Pride Of Irons meet with West Ham chairman David Gold (center) at the group's February launch event.

Members of Pride Of Irons meet with West Ham chairman David Gold (center) at the group’s February launch event.


“Does he take it up the arse?”

“Does your boyfriend know you’re here?”

“We can see you holding hands!”

Most of the chants that ring through the terraces of English stadiums and provide the cadence of a soccer match are innocent enough. They hail local heroesbecome club anthems, or aim banter at rivals. It isn’t uncommon to hear obscenities in them, but they usually don’t rise to level of targeted discriminatory abuse.

Every now and then, though, they turn homophobic.

Fans of all types are eager to point out that the caricature of the English soccer hooligan that showed up in movies of the past does not accurately portray a typical fan today, thanks to concerted efforts from the British government, law enforcement, and the Football Association, the sport’s governing body in England, that long ago rooted out most violence. And fans both gay and straight say too that instances of outright homophobia are also rare, or at least far less common than they once were. It is relatively easy now to attend a match without hearing blatant discriminatory abuse leveled at other fans, officials, players, or coaches.

But even when homophobia isn’t orchestrated and obvious, even at the places where clubs have taken strong stances and discrimination rarely occurs, there are fears that gay fans cannot be open about who they are.

“If you’re going to The Emirates with your boyfriend or girlfriend of the same sex, would you hold hands?” 

asked Dave Raval, a media coordinator for the Gay Gooners, a group of LGBT supporters of Arsenal F.C. “Many people wouldn’t. Homophobia exists on many different levels. That’s why we’re taking a stand.”

If you’re going to The Emirates with your boyfriend or girlfriend of the same sex, would you hold hands?

The most glaring example of reticence to come out is Robbie Rogers, the American who was playing in England when he announced he is gay and promptly retired in 2013. Rogers thought it “impossible” to come out while playing, citing the potential for abuse from both other players and fans in his decision to quit (months later, hereturned to Major League Soccer, the American league). Rogers’ concerns were not restricted to English soccer, but fans there say the sort of abuse he feared has kept more gay fans from coming to soccer matches.

The Football Association now has taken a special interest in combating discrimination of all forms — namely, racism, homophobia, sexism, and the abuse of disabled people — throughout the sport, from the professional level to the grassroots, where the use of homophobic language is an even bigger problem, according to officials. The FA has a five-year action plan aimed at increasing diversity within the sport and at encouraging more reporting of discrimination. And in recent years it has expanded its efforts beyond the fines and suspensions it has issued players, managers, and other club and FA employees who exhibit discriminatory behavior.

The FA now uses education programs to show its members what discrimination looks like and how they can prevent it. It is currently developing online anti-discrimination training for its 327,000 coaches and referees and conducts field training and education sessions too. At every level of the sport, any player, coach, referee, or club official found to violate its policies must go through one-on-one education sessions.

“Fining people and suspending people is one thing,” said Chris Gibbons, an FA Inclusion Education Adviser, who came to the organization after working for Stonewall, the UK’s largest LGBT charity. “But what we want to do is change attitudes and behavior, and get people thinking differently about what they do, what they say, and how they treat people.”

Though racism and sexism may remain the most visible forms of discrimination in English soccer, homophobia is one of the FA’s key targets, and Gibbons has “been really impressed at the response we get from participants, whether at the grassroots or the pro level.” The organization has worked alongside clubs in the Premier League and the leagues below it to help them improve their own efforts (one example: it held a two-day training session in December for pro and grassroots clubs to educate them on how to promote LGBT inclusion in the sport). The FA has also updated its transgender policy to handle players who transition on a case-by-case basis rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all model.

But the Football Association, as governing bodies go, isn’t all that powerful — at the professional level, the clubs are strongest — and there is one major area of the game it lacks the jurisdiction to reach: the fans.

Policing fan behavior is largely left to clubs and other fans, who can report abuse through an app developed by Kick It Out, an FA-partnered anti-discrimination organization. Many of the clubs have taken action, but groups like Pride of Irons are filling the gaps, adopting the organized nature of soccer supporters’ groups to confront abuse simply by making themselves more visible. The hope is that this will push soccer to a more inclusive place.

Members of the Gay Gooners march at the London pride festival.

Members of the Gay Gooners march at the London pride festival.


Before there was Pride of Irons or any of the other LGBT fan groups that have formed since, there were the Gay Gooners.

With more than 250 members, the Gay Gooners, whose name borrows a popular moniker for Arsenal fans, is the largest LGBT fan group in England. They earned Arsenal’s official sanction in the spring of 2013, when the club brought them onto the pitch before a match and unfurled a rainbow banner to hang from the stadium terrace. They have a direct working relationship with the club.

I was supposed to meet members of the Gay Gooners at The Rocket, a pub near Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, before a match in early March. By the time I walked in — after showing the bouncer a just-bought Arsenal hat and a match ticket to prove I wasn’t an opposing fan searching for trouble — the place was packed. We never found each other.

I went back after the match in the off-chance I’d find them then, but instead, a fan who noticed my American accent asked why I was there and invited me to watch the League Cup final — Chelsea and Tottenham were tied nil-nil early on — with his friends.

“He’s a journo,” my new-found friend announced as we approached the table, “doing a story about gay footballers.”

Most at the table smiled and demurred. Jack Gilhooly did not.

“If he’s a good football player, I wouldn’t care,” Gilhooly, a 25-year-old Liverpool supporter from Kent, said. “If he’s shit, I’d say he’s shit. What do I care.”

And fans?

“It doesn’t bother me if anyone’s gay,” he said. “If they’re good at football, or a fan, or they support a team — support your team. It doesn’t matter what they do. That’s their private business. You’re just a football fan.”

Another, an Arsenal fan who only called himself Sunny, chimed in.

“I don’t care if they’re gay. The only thing they could be ashamed of is if they played for Tottenham,” he yelled, referencing Arsenal’s hated North London rival.

The Gay Gooners banner hangs inside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

The Gay Gooners banner hangs inside Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. CREDIT: TRAVIS WALDRON


An impromptu discussion broke out between four fans — Sunny the Arsenal supporter, Gilhooly the Liverpool fan, a Chelsea supporter and a now-off-duty security guard, a Tottenham fan. They agreed that only “small-minded people” would care if a footballer or fan was gay. “There’s loads of gay players” already, Gilhooly reasoned.

The issue of gay fan groups, though, caused more contention and mystery, and hung on a simple question: if no one but the small-minded care, why do gay fans need to segregate themselves from the rest?

“We don’t self-segregate,” Raval, the Gay Gooners’ media coordinator, responded when we met later that week. “We self-identify.”

“Everybody asks, ‘When is a player going to come out?’” he continued. “But there are far more fans. When are the fans going to come out?”

Ask members of these groups why they exist and a common thread emerges.

For years, organized supporters’ groups have given fans of the same club a social outlet around the sport: people to go to the match with, people to drink with before the match, people to gather with inside and outside the grounds. At The Rocket, an Arsenal supporters’ group from Germany sat in one corner; at the Emirates, the terraces are lined with banners from supporters’ groups (like Arsenal America) from around the world.

Our message is, you’re welcome here. Football is ours as much as it is anyone else’s.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender fans have surely long been a part of this culture too. But only recently have they organized together, to let other LGBT fans know that they are there, that football can be their game too.

“Our message is, any LGBT fan, you’re welcome here,” said Chris Paouros, a co-founder of Proud Lilywhites, the group for LGBT supporters of Tottenham Hotspur. “Football is ours as much as it is anyone else’s.”

“For me, it’s about awareness,” Dolan, of Pride of Irons, said. “It’s about, I’m a fan, you’re a fan, let’s be a family. It’s not your club, it’s not my club. It’s everybody’s. We want anyone who wants to come support football to know they’re not the only one.”

Providing that social outlet is the area, perhaps, where the fan groups have accomplished the most already.

Meet with six members of the Proud Lilywhites and they will, on first glance, appear to have little in common. The two dozen Pride of Irons members at their launch match were old and young, black and white, man and woman. But these groups provide their members a link that they’ve never had with other football fans.

“I came to the stadium one night for a match, and I just happened to look up and see the banner,” Jaime Wildman, a Gay Gooners member, told me. “I thought, ‘Way cool. I have to get in touch with them.’ Now I’m hooked.”

Chris Painter takes the train to London for Tottenham matches. Before he met members of Proud Lilywhites, he made the trip a couple times a season. This early-March match against Swansea City, he said after a quick calculation, brought him closer to a dozen this year.

“I’ve come much more often over the last two or three years because of this group,” he said. He doesn’t sit with other members in the stands — he has his own tickets — but they routinely meet for dinner or drinks before a match, as our group has at a diner down the street from White Hart Lane on this night. “I come more because I’ve got people I can socialize with. People like me.”

Members of the Gay Gooners and Proud Lilywhites together after a promotional match between the two groups.

Members of the Gay Gooners and Proud Lilywhites together after a promotional match between the two groups. CREDIT: COURTESY OF THE PROUD LILYWHITES


That sense of welcoming has shown early signs of progress for inclusion in the game. Between the launch of the Gay Gooners and Pride of Irons, similar groups sprouted across English soccer — at Everton, the Rainbow Toffees; at Manchester City, the Canal St. Blues; at Norwich City, the Proud Canaries, to name but a few — and today, LGBT fans are more visible in soccer than they have ever been before. Recent weeks brought the launch of new groups at Charlton Athletic and Leicester City, the club that completed a mad-dash escape from relegation to remain in the Premier League this season.

The groups themselves are a sign of growth from the earliest efforts to organize gay fans, as they have launched in large part with the help of the Gay Football Supporters Network, a social and advocacy organization that links more than 900 LGBT fans across the United Kingdom. GFSN, which formed in 1989 and long predates the rise of individual club fan groups, launched its Fangroup Coordination effort in 2014 to help form groups at different clubs. GFSN FC is often instrumental in helping connect burgeoning groups like Pride of Irons with the clubs those fans support.

Visibility alone isn’t the end goal of many of the fan groups. The biggest have also taken on an active and public role promoting equality inside and outside the sport. The two groups that support opposite clubs in London’s biggest soccer rivalry have worked together to do just that: in February, before Arsenal and Tottenham met on the field, the Gay Gooners and Proud Lilywhites played a five-a-side match and competed in a pub trivia contest as an effort to raise awareness of LGBT fans. The Gay Gooners have marched together in pride parades; Proud Lilywhites members are active in community education initiatives focused on LGBT inclusion.

Classic fan associations are not just social networks. They also provide the type of organization that gives supporters a voice within their club and the sport. At Cardiff City, for instance, fans have protested owner Vincent Tan’s efforts to change the club’s colors from blue to red. Liverpool supporters, in an increasingly common display across England, have challenged rising ticket prices outside their stadium. Newcastle United supporters, distraught with a second-half performance that nearly left the Magpies facing relegation, called on the team’s owner to sell the club and carried banners into the stands in its final matches, declaring, “We don’t demand a club that wins, we demand a club that tries!”

The LGBT groups have given gay and lesbian fans a similar voice, though many of them haven’t needed to be so adversarial. Many English clubs, working in concert with fan groups and outside organizations like Football v. Homophobia and the FA-supported Kick It Out, have undertaken efforts to promote LGBT equality and inclusion on the pitch and off.

Arsenal and Tottenham are again illustrative.

Arsenal has for years had an LGBT member on a fan committee that meets with the club multiple times a season, and in the past two years, its efforts to promote LGBT equality as part of its Arsenal For Everyone initiative have expanded and become even more prominent. Arsenal welcomed the Gay Gooners onto the pitch to unfurl a new banner this season during LGBT history month. Manager Arsene Wenger has spoken out in support of openly gay players, and last year, some of Arsenal’s most prominent players were featured in a pro-equality video that gained international attention.

At Tottenham, the club’s board meets with the Proud Lilywhites, which unlike the other groups is an official supporters’ association and thus an official part of the club, at least twice a year, and the club also held an event on the pitch to promote their launch (a Proud Lilywhites banner is also visible inside Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium). Both clubs have featured the groups’ messages in their match day programs. The Lilywhites just completed their first full season, and the expectation is that it will continue to grow and the partnership will only evolve.

“When we look back on our first full season and what we wanted to do, I think we’ll say we did a hell of a lot,” said Simon Gray, the organization’s communications director. Now, he added, the Lilywhites want to “increase membership, increase engagement, increase our presence. It’s where do we go next. You’re always pushing.”

Leviathen Hendricks, GFSN FC’s coordinator, pointed to Norwich City, Newcastle, and numerous teams at the non-league level, as examples of clubs that have also embraced inclusion proactively.

Clubs like Tottenham and Arsenal, where anti-discrimination activists say there is a “culture of inclusion,” might have taken up many of these efforts on their own. But there and elsewhere, the existence and visibility of the fan groups has no doubt amplified the message and made it easier to do more. And at times, the Gay Gooners and Proud Lilywhites have pushed the clubs and their fans farther and seen tangible results.

In 2013, when Arsenal traveled south to Brighton & Hove Albion for a cup match, its supporters collectively showered their opponents with homophobic abuse — a common occurrence at Brighton, the city known as Britain’s “gay capital.” Before Arsenal returned for another FA Cup match this year, the Gay Gooners coordinated with the club to put a stop to homophobic banter before it began. The week before the Brighton match, Arsenal published a message in its match program warning fans that it did not tolerate such abuse. Then it emailed every fan with an away ticket to reiterate the message. The Gay Gooners and the club worked with local police and Brighton stewards to urge them to take homophobia seriously.

“On the actual day, there were three or four incidents of one or two people chanting, but the stewards, with police behind them, immediately stomped it out,” Raval said. “So in two years, we went from 3,000 fans chanting to three or four. That’s massive.”

The Lilywhites have experienced a similar effect.

“If we stand back and don’t say anything” when abuse occurs at Spurs matches, said Gray, “more people now will come to our defense. That’s a powerful thing.”

Members of Pride Of Irons at a celebration event after they launched in March.

Members of Pride Of Irons at a celebration event after they launched in March. CREDIT: TRAVIS WALDRON


There is progress yet to make.

Younger fans like those I met at The Rocket may have no problem with gay fans or players, but Dolan, of Pride of Irons, observed that the chants that are common in Brighton have spread to other grounds too, perhaps in part because LGBT fans have made themselves more visible.

“This ultimately rides on the straight fan, to prove they’re larger than the vocal minority,” Dolan told me.

And there is, of course, still the question of when a player in top-flight English men’s soccer will come out publicly. Pinning all of the blame on fans is unfair, just as it was in the United States, where largely supportive crowds have greeted openly gay players in different sports (Arsenal Ladies and England international Casey Stoney came out as the first openly gay player in the English women’s league last year. In an email, she called it “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made” and said that the “overwhelming majority” of fans “have been very supportive”).

The Football Association seems committed to smoothing the path for an openly gay player. It is “working hard to create an environment where if they do decide to be open about their sexual orientation, they know they will have our full support, the support of their clubs, fans, and teammates,” Gibbons, the FA Inclusion Adviser, said of players who might consider coming out.

But given the instances of homophobic abuse that have come from fans in the past, the supporters’ groups remain a crucial part of the effort, which includes the FA’s work and the expansion of a network of gay soccer teams and players across the UK. If one of the goals is to make it easier for a gay player to come out, the overarching idea is to normalize the concept that LGBT people exist in all parts and at every level of soccer.

“We want to be there all the time, so there’s that continuous drip, drip, drip about gay football and gay football fans,” Raval said. “So people just get used to it, and it’s normal.”

Russian police detain 17!

Russian police detain 17 activists

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian police detained 17 protesters on Sunday as they gathered in central Moscow to release colourful balloons into the air to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, an organiser of the failed flashmob said.

Some 50 people assembled on a square outside a Moscow theatre but crowd control police drove up a bus and started shoving the protesters inside before they managed to unfurl any banners or chant any slogans.

One of the organisers, Andrei Obolensky, said later that he and others were still detained at a police station, and only one of them had so far been released.

The LGBT community has come under increased pressure in Russia as President Vladimir Putin has charted a more conservative course since starting his third term in 2012.

A 2013 law against gay “propaganda” sparked an outcry among Russian rights activists and in the West. But partly reflecting the influence of the Orthodox church, many Russians back the law or have negative feelings towards gays.

A similar event took place undisturbed in Russia’s second city of St Petersburg on Sunday, with activists waving rainbow flags and releasing scores of balloons while police looked on.

“It’s tough, members of the LGBT community face lots of discrimination in their lives, at work, at school… people are faced with violence in the streets,” said protester Nika Yuryeva.

(Reporting by Genna Novik and Alexander Chizhenok, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

ILGA – New report shows homosexual criminalizing countries dropping from 92 to 76 in last decade

By John Mack Freeman

ilgaA new study from ILGA shows that the number of countires that criminalize homosexuality has dropped from 92 to 76 from 2005 to 2015. Some of the top sheet results include:

  • there are 117 countries (UN Members) where same sex sexual acts between adults in private are legal. Mozambique and Palau have decriminalised same-sex acts in 2014 and Lesotho in 2010.
  • there are 76 countries where same-sex sexual acts are still illegal. Chad introduced a new Penal Code in 2014, punishing anyone who has sex with persons of the same sex.
  • In relation to death penalty, eight States officially legislate for it, but only five (Mauritania, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) actually implement it, but a sixth State, Iraq, although not in the civil code, clearly has judges and militias throughout the country that issue the death sentence for same-sex sexual behaviours. Further, some provinces in Nigeria and Somalia officially implement the death penalty. We are also aware that in the Daesh(ISIS/ISIL)-held areas the death penalty is implemented (although a non-State actor, it is listed in the report). Brunei Darussalam is due to activate the death penalty for same sex sexual acts in 2016, but it seems likely that like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Qatar although it is on the statute, it will not be implemented.
  • Regarding the recent legal practice, emerging from Russian provinces first in 2006, to criminalise the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’, it is with some relief that we note that in fact to date only four countries actually appear to have adopted this on their statute books: Algeria, Lithuania, Nigeria and Russia.
  • Discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation is now prohibited in 63 countries, including Chile (2012), Samoa (2013), Namibia (2004) and city of Buenos Aires in Argentina (2015).
  • A total of 7 countries have a constitutional prohibition to discrimination based on sexual orientation, including Mexico (2011) and Virgin Islands (2007) – associate of the United Kingdom
  • Hate crimes based on sexual orientation are considered an aggravating circumstance in 34 countries. Laws in this respect have been identified in several European countries, including Andorra (2005), parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), Iceland (2004), Kosovo (2013), Lithuania (2009), Montenegro (2010), Norway (1994), Serbia (2012), Slovakia (2013), Slovenia (2008).
  • Incitement of hatred based on sexual orientation is prohibited in 31 countries. Austria has introduced such law in 2011, Hungary in 2013, Montenegro in 2010 and Switzerland in 2015.
  • Marriage is open for same-sex couples in 18 countries, including in Luxembourg and Slovenia, both in 2015. The state of Coahuila in Mexico and 19 further states in the United States of America have passed same-sex marriage laws in 2014, bringing the total number of states legislating for marriage equality to 37 (plus the District of Columbia). Finland approved a marriage equality law in 2015 that will come into force in 2017, while Estonia approved a similar law in 2014, to come into force in 2016.
  • Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 19 countries. It was legalised in Luxemburg and Malta in 2014, and in Austria , Ireland and Slovenia in 2015.

Stockport Academy Tackles Homophobia

Editorial: When will homophobia be stopped in our schools in Northern Ireland.  When will Stormont and our politicians come together to fight homophobia.  We have just had an election, it will be interesting to see if they stand by the Friday Agreement on Human Rights.

The following article was republished from Gay Times

Students produce moving video in light of Anti-Homophobia Week

Students at the Stockport Academy have made a moving drama piece to coincide with Anti-Homophobia Week.

The short video is called Everybody’s Disapproval and is set to Hozier’s song Take Me To Church.

The emotive piece is shot in black and white, recreating and reinterpreting scenes from Hozier’s original video. It features both a young gay and lesbian couple being the victims of homophobic abuse.

Their short video concludes with a few statements and statistics to reinforce the overall message. “End homophobia today.”

The Academy is renowned for their zero tolerance to bullying and has previously received the Diana Award in 2014 for their campaign work in anti-bullying.

Words Tom Richardson, @tom20richardson