Monday, 30 January 2012

Documentary: Britain's gay footballers

Britain's gay footballers? That's a misleading title, because there aren't any. Well, there was one, once. He killed himself.
BBC3! OK, it's not renowned for it's hard-hitting documentaries, but it's interesting subject matter, so let's give it a whirl. Football, football, football. The beautiful game. With a dead gay footballer as their spokesperson for equality. As a side note, I wonder how many women get beaten up every Saturday when their partner's team doesn't win? I bet it's more than 100. I bet it's more than 1,000.
So yeah. 5,000 professional footballers, and not one of them gay. Don't make me laugh. John Fashanu's daughter Amal is making this documentary. Her uncle was Justin Fashanu who killed himself. Black - and gay - and a footballer. He was a brave man.
'How comes in a team of 25 there's no gay people?' There are a couple of things wrong with that sentence, Amal. I HATE John Fashanu. He always comes across pretty camp, I think. He's wearing a pink shirt, too, so quite bold.
Let's not beat around the bush here: football is ugly. Football is sexist, racist, homophobic, violent, cruel and money-grabbing. Football and footballers are allowed to get away with murder. Take for example tube stations closed on match days, or trains full of men chanting, singing and swearing. Now imagine those same tube stations being shut down for a feminist conference, or a big women-only party each week. Imagine women shouting and swearing on the tube like that, intimidating people. Girls will be girls? NO. Men are allowed to get away with murder in the name of football, which lets not forget, is just kicking a ball around (Charlie Brooker and Adam and Joe have both dismissed football more eloquently than I ever could).
I thought it was interesting that Fashanu said even the straight players won't speak out about homophobia in football. Because if there are no gay people to demonise, let's demonise the next best thing; people supporting gay people.
Homophobic chanting on the terraces is not 'just banter', it's fucking bullying. They 'wouldn't go home and do it'? So those same men don't go home and shout homophobic abuse at the TV, or worse, at any poor gay couple who happen to be passing them? Racist, homophobic and sexist views aren't contained to a terrace. Those views lurk deep within hearts - the terrace is just the platform for them.
Imagine a gay male couple, holding hands on that train carriage filled with football-loving numpties? It would all be cool, presumably? Yeah, I'm sure. I've read Irvine Welsh! It's quite funny really, that men are allowed to behave like that, like a pack of thick, intimidating animals, yet men in love with men are still not about to walk down the street holding hands without fear of abuse? Weird country we live in.
I didn't think Matt Lucas's comments were particularly helpful; let's not forget he's talking to the mentally deficient here, we're talking little better than apes. He's enabling abuse, basically. Mind you, he's hardly an advocate for gay rights; just look at Little Britain.
Amal isn't exactly getting to the crux of the matter. But to be honest, I'm just glad the subject is being discussed and not swept under the carpet as it normally is. It's brave to even discuss this, especially on BBC3.
Who is this dude that she's talking to that says 'poof' is acceptable? Why isn't she challenging him more? What a dismissive man. What a stupid dinosaur.
Wow, the documentary she watched where John Fashnu said: 'he has to suffer the consequences' about his brother. That's really shocking. I'm surprised he can show his face on this show.
That suicide note was really heartbreaking. What a horrible injustice. It is a hard world: and it shouldn't be that way, especially not in 2012. Fucking speak up! If you're a football fan, or a footballer, and you care about equal rights, speak the fuck up. If you're not a scumbag, speak the fuck up. Because as far as I'm concerned, football creates a culture of us vs them, men vs women, rich vs poor, it's just divisive and hateful, I actually believe it's hateful. I couldn't go out with a man who liked football, because by supporting football you're saying it's OK to sideline women, it's OK to force gay people back into the closet, and it's OK to call black people monkeys. Because that is the only shit I ever hear about football. And as a football fan, you're supporting it. I feel that strongly. The only other thing I ever see about football (apart from the complete disrespect of women: from the WAGS to the spitroasts) are those men chanting on the tube, when I'm trying to take a scared cat to the vet, or just go about my business, and I just think, this is the patriarchy. This is it live and in technicolour. So fuck football.
That basketball player she spoke to was spot on: football can change, but do they want to change? Football fans and players could make the change happen and earn a bit of respect, but they can't be bothered because they're too fucking thick, or selfish.
John Fashnu IS homophobic, and is potentially a closet case, and that's probably the reason he was so jealous of his brother, because his brother was brave and he isn't. He's so unrepentant, too! Your brother took his own fucking life! Can't you back down all these years later? How dare Justin come out and 'told the world he was gay at a time when the world was so hostile?' Wow, you're a real fucking trailblazer, John. Not exactly Rosa Parks on the back of that bus are you, you absolute cunt? Your brother killed himself: isn't that enough? Didn't you win that round? I'm agog.
The Swedish openly gay footballer she went to meet was cute. He seemed way too intelligent to be a footballer. He was like the gay David Beckham after some clever pills.
Oh well done, a professional footballer finally spoke to her. Excuse me if I don't burst with excitement. He said, 'In the next 10 years we will have an openly gay footballer.' TEN YEARS. Fucking hell man, I thought in 2022 we'd have fucking hoverboards, not a bit of basic tolerance in the workplace. Egads!
The very deliberately black female equalities manager for the FA said things were changing. I'll believe it when I see it. Football does lag behind society. So excuse me if I don't 'know the score' or care 'who's playing.' And don't even get me started on women's football, our token little 'you go play over there, ladies, where no one's watching' sweetener.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, fuck football. Now over to you to prove me wrong.


Mattpuma said...

Hi, you make some good points in this blog but also you are to quick to pigeonhole anyone who likes football. I love football and I am not apologetic about that.
I also abhor racism and homophobia and I am not afraid to say it. I agree lots of moronic and socially inadequate people watch football but as in most things they are the ones who shout the loudest and bespoil the image of the game. The majority of football fans are not racist or homophobic. I am a season ticket holder at Torquay United and I have only very rarely heard anything (once every 3 or 4 years?) and when I have it is heartily shouted down by the majority of supporters. Hate will never be totally eradicated from society, we can only hpe to educate as many people as possible that their views are wrong.
I think you are incorrect to dismiss all football supporters as moronic knuckle draggers. I watch it for the spectacle, the rush when your team scores and it is a unique form of belonging and tribalism but that doesn't make me ignorant or intolerant of others lifestyle or creed.
Stephen Fry is a massive football fan, I don't think you would classify him as a homophobe and neither are millions of other fans, although a significant minority sadly are.
When Justin Fashanu played for my team the opposition fans were predictable in their chanting, but at our club he was a legend and his skin colour and sexuality was not relevant. RIP Fash.
Oh and by the way, your blogs are by far the most entertaining and interesting I have found on the net so keep going.

lightupvirginmary said...

Thanks Matt, I thought I'd get a lot more stick for this blog than I have so I do totally appreciate your point!
I understand completely why men like football; it's the same feeling of excitement I get when I see a scumbag kicked out of Big Brother.
I also know that the majority of football fans are not idiots; I know lots of football fans, of course, which is why I thought I'd get more stick.
But I still think football fans have a responsibility to change the culture, and not just treat football like a dirty weekend in Amsterdam where rules don't apply. Rules do apply in something as massive as football, as it has and change needs to happen on a massive scale, but I can't see it happening.
More footballers need to speak out and more fans need to challenge them. I can't see it changing from the bottom up.

Mattpuma said...

Sadly I think the only way things will change is if some gay footballers come out, but who would want to be a trailblazer and suffer the inevitable abuse until a greater acceptance prevails. It must be terrifying coming out to friends and family let alone in the public eye.
If there was a gay player at every club then perhaps fans would understand that there is nothing different or wrong in homosexuality.
I think the attitude is endemic in society as a whole but compared to most other countries we are much more tolerant of others.
Look at the position of the church for example which is deplorable in many things.
My girlfriend would probably be happy if football was banned as I play it as well as watch it, but my life would be much poorer!