The Game Changer reached a height of nine meters. Think it made an impression?
For this year’s Brighton Pride, GAY TIMES partnered with Paddy Power to highlight the lack of visibility for LGBTQ footballers.
Before Kylie Minogue sashayed on stage to perform some of her biggest hits – from Can’t Get You Out of My Head to All the Lovers – the largest inflatable ever used at a Pride Parade in the UK made its mark on the city.
The ‘Game Changer’ balloon was held by Liverpool legend Graeme Souness and Proud United – a team made up of LGBTQ footballers from across the nation – to draw attention to the lack of openly gay male footballers.
“Society has made such giant strides generally in terms of LGBTQ, that as football people we’ve got to ask why does the issue of homophobia persist within our community and the professional game and challenge that,” said Sourness.
He continued: “I’m here today as an ally and to bring attention to members of the LGBT community in the amateur game who are leading the charge in that conversation.”
The balloon took two hours to inflate and required enough helium to fill 7,000 balloons. When carried by volunteers, it reached a height of nine meters. Think it made an impression?
Women’s football has happily accepted LGBTQ players into the top tiers of the sport, but the same cannot be said for men’s football. Right now, there are no openly gay or bisexual male players in the Premier League.
“When it happened in rugby with the Welsh player [Gareth Thomas], people respected the situation,” said Ballerín. “The fans respected his decision. In football, the culture is different. It can be very personal, very nasty.”
Giroud also said: “In the dressing room, there is a lot of testosterone, teasing and collective showers. It is delicate but that is how it is. I can understand the pain and the difficulty for guys in coming out – it is a real challenge.”
However, some are challenging that view. England’s first ever gay football referee, Ryan Atkin, said: “But we are also in a place now where if an individual chose to come out, he would probably get the biggest amount of support.
“Not only from fans, but from the media, and from football itself.”
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Author: Sam Damshenas