Launched last Saturday (23 August), ahead of the Spanish premier league kick-off, by the LGBT campaigners Halegatos and Arcópoli, the #LaLigaSinHomofobia, #LaLigaSinBifobia and #LaLigaSinTransfobia hash tags – in English, the league without homophobia/biphobia/transphobia – called on players to answer to questions and supporters to help the campaign become a ‘trending topic’.
“You can only assume that something is really wrong when, in football, a player is racially abused and everyone condemns it, but not when an entire stadium chants homophobic slurs.” said the Arcópoli Co-ordinator Amanda Rodríguez.
Players were invited to share experiences and answer to questions including ‘How would you react if a fellow teammate came out?’.
Politicians, sporting bodies and anti-homophobia activists, including the LGBT network Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Transexuales y Bisexuales (FELGTB) lend their support to the campaign to promote diversity in the game.
Rubén López, responsible for FELGTB sports department said: “We must put an end to one of the biggest taboos related to homosexuality in Spain. Football players must show their support to their fellow teammates. Spain cannot be the exception and must follow the example of Europe. The league and the federation must get involved”.
Homophobia ‘a taboo’, say Halegatos and Arcópoli
The initiative follows UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay call on World Cup players to come out and “declare their sexual orientation without fear” during the tournament, earlier in June, in Brazil.
A press release launched along with the campaign stressed that in Spanish professional football no player has ever came out and only the La Liga club Athletic de Bilbao have ever participated in anti-homophobia campaign, which to the organisers reinforces the idea that the topic “is still a taboo”.
In 2013, during the Football People action weeks Spanish grassroots organisations, including the University of Seville, C.A.P Ciudad de Murcia, and the Fare members Familias por la Diversidad and Federación Andaluza Arco Iris, highlighted the problem through conferences, football matches and other awareness raising events.
— Pedro Zerolo (@Pedro_Zerolo) August 22, 2014
El fútbol es de todos los que lo amamos, no cabe la discriminación. Todo nuestro apoyo a la campaña #LaLigaSinHomofobia
— FASFE (@FASFEaficion) August 22, 2014