03/10/2020

It may be known as the Beautiful Game but football has never been able to conceal its ugly side. Enis Yucekoralp says that heteronormativity must be fought to bring tolerance to the pitch and the stands

As much as social media enables users to punch up and level critiques at the expense of those in power, it frequently witnesses the ventriloquism of bigotry, where performative punches are aimed downwards at oppressed groups. One of the football worlds most pressing issues, homophobia, has been hotly debated over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 
It could be said that mens football is the spectacle of the heteronormative world. Inherently, it seems to harbour a lingering, toxic culture of homophobia and a normalised power structure which must be eradicated. And the sport is patently offside when it comes to an open and tolerant atmosphere for different sexualities; but, like social media, football is also a reflective medium of societal expression and fan opinion. Prevailing homophobic attitudes or non-existent allyship, from supporter-level to top brass, often means that the structure has to be dismantled internally and externally because anti-LGBT+ sentiment seems to exist ubiquitously. 
Certainly, considering the thousands of professional players in English football, and the percentage of the UK male population who identify as gay, the absence of gay players in the current footballing pyramid would be a statistical astonishment. Justin Fashanus courageous step in 1990 remains the first and only high-profile coming-out in the mens English game during a playing career. 
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