Kicking biphobia out of football

Kick it Out logoKick It Out, the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), the Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) fans are hosting their first joint event, entitled #Prideinfootball, at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel in central London this Sunday 16 November.

#Prideinfootball, which forms part of Kick It Out’s and the FSF’s ‘Fans for Diversity’ campaign, is also supported by Football v Homophobia (FvH), will give fans a chance to meet face-to-face to celebrate and discuss the rise of LGBT fans’ groups over recent years, and to share what they have achieved so far whilst focusing on how they build on this success.

Football v Homophobia ran a Football v Biphobia campaign in 2011 as we reported in 2011, but seems to have gone quiet on naming biphobia and transphobia so explicitly since. Stonewall’s ‘Rainbow Laces’ campaign extended this trend through having its lead sponsorship from a company that had earned a reputation for transphobic advertising. Perhaps this space will be a chance to begin to buck that trend of ‘GGGG’ LGBT work.

football-v-biphobia logo#Prideinfootball will run from 1pm until 4pm, with an open invite to all LGBT fan groups and LGBT fans to attend and take part. Refreshments will be provided and the day will be relaxed and informal with, fun sessions, workshops and networking which will bring together a wide range of views, opinions and experiences with one thing in common – a shared love of football.

Groups confirmed to attend so far are Proud Canaries (Norwich City), the Gay Gooners (Arsenal), Canal Street Blues (Manchester City) and Proud Lilywhites (Tottenham Hotspur). They will run workshops on the different ways to set up supporters’ groups, how to report LGBT abuse and discrimination, and ways to build support for diversity and inclusion within the wider football fan base.

The day, which runs from 1-4pm, will round off with a panel discussion to seek views about the best the ways LGBT fans’ groups can communicate and support each other and think about the next steps and future plans.

Anwar Uddin, who holds a dual role with the FSF and Kick It Out as Diversity and Campaigns Manager of the ‘Fans for Diversity’ initiative, said: “This will be a fantastic opportunity to bring together members of LGBT fans’ groups and individuals interested in all of our work in this area, and explore how we can all make a difference collectively.

“There’s a great unity between these groups which transcends football and I think the sport as a whole can take pride in that.”

Lou Englefield, from FvH, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this event and to have the chance to hear from LGBT fans about their experience of the professional game. Listening to those who are often at the sharp end of homophobia and transphobia in football can only help the focus and impact of our campaign.”

#Prideinfootball aims to engage with LGBT fans who are not part of a group, or geographically isolated, to attend so that support, help and encouragement can be offered to those who are thinking about what they can do to play their part in making the beautiful game truly inclusive.

Leviathen Hendricks from the GFSN said: “This conference will mark the first co-ordinated gathering of LGBT fans groups, bringing together established groups with newly-formed supporters’ organisations. We’re excited about the potential this will have for augmenting our work linking up clubs with their LGBT supporters.”

To register free for the event, please click here