As a sportsman (or someone who is not very good, but really enjoys it) I am someone who plays cricket for a ‘normal’ straight team and football for a gay team.
The question is often asked now if we need to have gay teams, or if the gay community is becoming too inclusive?
It doesn’t need me to tell people that a number of sports have ‘moved on’ in attitudes such as Rugby and cricket, which now have openly gay professional players. I also don’t need to comment that it’s a shame no British based professional football players feel that they can come out and be open with their sexuality. Of course, there may not be any gay footballers, but then pigs might fly as well.
At a recent European Gay football tournament that I had the pleasure of playing in for Village Manchester in Hamburg, Thomas Hitzlsperger (ex Aston Villa, West Ham and German International to the uninitiated) attended the closing ceremony and presented the awards. Hitzlsperger came out as gay after his career finished and is now championed by many in the gay sports community, but one of my colleagues felt differently. He asked why if Hitzlsperger is so proud of his sexuality, then why did he wait till his career finished before he revealed it? There may be numerous answers, but I felt it was a poignant question.
In a small way I can understand this. I personally didn’t come out until I was 31 for fear of being rejected by my cricket team. My fears were extremely ill-founded. I do get a bit of banter now, but it’s all pretty harmless, and I’d rather people feel they can joke about it, rather than be afraid to mention anything.
The changing rooms for any sports teams are sacred places where all sorts of things (non-sexual for the dirty minded amongst you) go on. So it’s important that all sports people trust and have a respect for each other. Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation should feel comfortable in what they are doing, and I’ve heard a number of stories from guys at Village Manchester that they have felt uncomfortable in ‘straight’ football teams. I believe that’s why gay teams work. People are free to be themselves, talk freely about who they are and enjoy each others company.
I joined VMFC in 2014 and I can honestly say that its one of the best things I’ve ever done. That is where gay teams and clubs have a place in society. VMFC also has a number of straight members as well, making it fully inclusive for anyone who loves football. Now there is a perfect world – INCLUSIVE
by Dan Fish | @rava1979
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.