February is becoming football’s global month of action against homophobia through the Football vs. Homophobia campaign, as the sport sends out a message from grass roots to the professional game, that discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people is not to be tolerated.
This years activities are set to be launched in London this Thursday (31st February) with support from the English FA and the FARE network. The launch, at the historic Guildhall building, will see activists, football administrators and players gather to give the campaign a kick-start.
Activities in Russia and Mexico
An FvH small grants scheme will mean that the reach of the campaign will see grassroots activities in Russia, Mexico, Germany and Montenegro.
In the UK, events such as Arsenal in the Community’s FvH Schools Tournament will take place alongside grass roots football matches, community activity, a panel discussion on transphobia at Wembley on 13th February and the launch of the new Football v Homophobia fanzine ‘STAND OUT’ on 15th February.
Speakers at this weeks launch will include Paul Elliott, former professional footballer and FARE ambassador, and Kelly Simmons, Head of the National Game and Women’s Football at the English FA.
A young campaign
Megan Worthing Davies, Football v Homophobia Campaign Director summarises: “We’re still a young campaign, just getting people to talk LGBT and football is a great start.
“In countries where we have some of the best LGBT human rights in the world, getting people to accept that some ‘banter’ on and off the pitch is, in fact hate speech, can be a challenge. As a global campaign, reaching countries where LGBT people still live in daily fear of harassment and violence, we hope that Football v Homophobia can help educate and make a difference.”
FARE Executive Director, Piara Powar, outlined FARE’s commitment to the campaign:
“To effectively tackle discrimination we need to reflect the experiences of all communities seeking equality and inclusion. FARE believes in the intersectionality of our struggles, the necessity of learning from different movements and moving forward as one. The message of the FvH campaign is a compelling one, we are proud to be partners.”
Details of launch
For full details of the launch event, at 6.00pm on Thursday 31 January at the Guildhall in London email info@ footballvhomophobia.com.
A full list of activities during the month can be found at www.footballvhomophobia.com.