Often Partisan

Boyfriends and Football

“Does your boyfriend know you’re here?”

One of the few times the Tilton was in full voice during yesterday’s game against Brighton and Hove Albion was to mockingly ask the Brighton fans if their male spouses were aware of their presence at the football. Whilst for some it’s just a terrace chant, it raises the spectre of homophobia for others and I thought it would be worth talking about.

Homophobia is one of the last prejudices that is seen to be acceptable by many. It seems to me that a lot of people still feel uncomfortable with something that they see as un-natural and as an affront to society. As a tree-hugging leftie it’s a prejudice I’ve never had; it may be a cliché but I have had gay friends, I’ve been to gay bars and I’m cool with it. However, I do accept for a lot of people it’s something that they can’t reconcile with their own beliefs.

All that being said, I don’t believe the above chant is homophobic. It’s not very funny, it’s not very original but I don’t believe it’s a perjorative either. It doesn’t say that gay people are bad, or wrong, or anything like that – the only thing it does imply is that if you’re from Brighton then you’re gay. Is that homophobic or a nod to the huge gay scene that exists in Brighton? I would like to believe the latter.

The problem is of course is that isn’t the only chant or shout with regards to homosexuality. It may have been only the odd person, but is it acceptable for someone to shout abuse from the stand referring to opposition fans and players as AIDS victims or similar because of a perceived link to homosexuality? In my opinion, that’s no better than monkey chants against black players – yet I don’t believe homophobia is punished in the same manner that racist abuse is.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that homosexuality isn’t talked about within the context of the football community. I guess for those that play there is a large percentage of people who would for whatever reason feel uncomfortable getting changed in the same room as someone who is sexually attracted to their gender. I think I have to be honest enough to admit that I would feel uncomfortable taking my clothes off in front of someone who I knew liked men – no one wants to feel objectified after all. And yet, isn’t that presumptious that a homosexual would even find one attractive?

It’s a thorny subject, and I suspect it will be still some time before homosexuals playing football will be considered normal. I’m a believer it will take someone brave who plays at a high level professionally to announce that they are homosexual before anything changes; currently the only “out” gay player in European professional football is Anton Hysén (former Liverpool player Glenn’s son) who plays in the Swedish fourth division. Judging by what happened to Justin Fashanu I think it will be some time before anyone else comes out of the closet.

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12 Responses to “Boyfriends and Football”

  • George says:

    Unfortunately one fan near me in the Tilton thought it was a good idea to shout “come on blues, beat those benders” multiple times. Great article, as always!!

  • prewarblue says:

    I am not “Gay” a father of 4 ,grandfather to 6,,,,my view is live and let live,,,,,a gay person just has different choices in their way of life to mine,,,I too have “gay ” friends,,,,as long as they are happy who am I to critise.

  • bluenose11 says:

    i dont really see this as the last prejudices as you put it what about fattism or people with afflictions such as blindness or hearing problems or maybe just because your old ? these people are abused on a daily basis prejudice is prejudice if its on the terraces or on a comedians stage it . unfortunatly it seems these types of prejudice are acceptable by the way not gay

  • Aussiebrum says:

    You say “…as a tree-hugging leftie it’s a prejudice I’ve never had.”

    The reason is simply lefties support centralised planning – allowing the State to decide what’s best for the people while the other side believes in individual liberties. Supporting individual choice over the collective might of the state might see you moving to the other side of the political spectrum?

    Seriously I did think the large Brighton fan base was loud and excellent yesterday – shame we couldn’t have had another 8,000 Bluenoses there.

    • almajir says:

      I’m not going to get into political ideologies on here. I’ll just say that people assume I’m a tree hugger because I’m a touchy feely wishy washy liberal.

      Are you the gentleman who travels over from Oz to watch the games? If so, was good to meet you yesterday…

  • SussexBrum says:

    I must say this is political correctness gone a little bit more crazy… I live in Sussex and we actually have a bus that runs to the Amex Stadium so I know a few Brighton fans and they think its funny that people are getting upset for them,when they see it as banter not predjudice, infact the other week they sang back at another team that “you’re to ugly to be gay”. Is that “uglyism”. Please remember that you are at a football match and it is a little bit of fun. Do we get upset when opposing fans sing about brummies or our players past NO! we sing back and it is just banter thats just one of things that mke football a working class past time, and I love it.

  • skareggae72 says:

    I think what Almajir is trying to say is he would prefer to read the Morning Star to the Daily Star.I wouldnt critiscise that!.

  • Boy from Oz says:

    Another interesting article Almajir and always guaranteed to get a response, which is great.
    I think we have to separate humour from sarcasm. One of the many things Brits are reknown for is humour and our ability to make fun and laugh at ourselves, something people from other countries and cultures find difficult to understand. When it comes to humour nothing is sacred, but used in a sarcastic way with the intention to hurt then that is out if order. I was raised to believe “if you think what you are about to say will hurt or offend someone then don’t say it.

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    I think you’re reading too much into what was a lighter moment that raised a titter. Sure it was homophobic but it was meant in fun not malice. Let’s face it much worse things are chanted at football grounds. And worse still is the violence outside. Before the game a few of us were chatting about the continuing originality of our songs. Recently “Burke will tear you apart” (Joy Division), the ambitious Scott Dann Spandau Ballet song and the excellent re-working of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK – “I want to be at City”. Long may it continue.

  • jeff says:

    origanal songs?giggs will tear you apart-man utd been doing it years.fc utd started the pistol tune off i believe.

  • Aussiebrum says:

    Yes, that was me at the meeting.

    Now looking forward to Thursdays game before going home on Friday.

  • Sophie Bane says:

    Just catching up on some older posts, I realise I’m a little late to this particular party, but I thought this might be of interest, I use it in delivering awareness training at work and it generally gets a reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1270cn0YxSo

    Most people find the ad quite powerful. But then again, not that many people have actually seen it, as the FA cancelled the screening/ launch of the campaign because they couldn’t find a single footballer willing to support it. They weren’t asking for anyone to out themselves, just one single footballer to publicly state that they didn’t approve of homophobic abuse. Isn’t that sad?

    That said, I agree with your assessment of the song – it doesn’t suggest there’s anything wrong with being a gay football fan (and there are plenty of us) so it’s banter not abuse. I’ve heard homophobic abuse at Stan’s though, most memorably when some people couldn’t distinguish between actor Matthew Upton, who was dating Will Young, and Matthew Upson, who wasn’t. Upon the latter missing a header, some idiot in the Olympic Gallery started screaming homophobic abuse at Upson. Aside from anything else, isn’t that a bit counter productive when aimed at your own player?!?

    Good post, Almajir – homophobia in sport is something we should all be against if we want footbal to be accessible to all. There might be some fantastic players out there who give up before turning pro because they just don’t want the aggro of being a gay footballer, and that’s not right.

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