Homophobia

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tomoufc
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Homophobia

Post by tomoufc » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:23 pm

Hi,

I would be interested in Rage Onliner's views on this, as it's really my spiritual home. Do you think that a Football v. Homophobia campaign would be successful or worthwhile at the club? Does anyone know if anything like this has been mooted before? How has the Kick it Out campaign operated at the club? Simply FA-imposed platitudes or was there a concerted effort by fans' groups and club staff?

For reference here is the awful, if sometimes hopeful YF thread:

http://yellowsforum.co.uk/thread/14867/

And interestingly it has been brought up before:

http://www.yellowsforum.co.uk/thread/13 ... homophobia

Thanks people
&quotI've been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job. &quot

Mooro
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Mooro » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:18 pm

I posted the following over there on a thread covering Clarke Carlisle's recent documentary about depression among footballers, which didn't get much response, but it sort of fits in here:

"I only saw the second half, but agree that it was a very good programme. I hope this is an area where Mr Carlisle can drive some progress now that he has retired from playing, though the interview with David Bernstein suggests that it is not going to be that easy to get the subject given any more than lip service at the moment.
It was interesting when looked at in tandem with another programme shown a month or two ago, which featured a Welsh international rugby player (Gareth Thomas) who came out as gay in 2009 towards the end of his rugby career. As with Carlisle, it discussed the various stigma attached to being labelled as one thing or another in sport today.

Having watched both, it is telling that even today there remains such reluctance to address such issues within the game, especially as the issue of race has been largely overcome (in this country at least) now for a long, long time. In fact, it is equally interesting that the game is prepared to have the debate about accepting players who have 'done time' (as we at Oxford know only too well), but not those with mental health issues or that are gay.

Perhaps this is only because one cannot 'hide' being black, or in these days of the internet, having been convicted, so we become forced into dealing with it, whereas one can - and people frequently do - hide being gay or suffering from mental health issues, and thus it can be swept under the carpet by the game as a whole, regardless of the pressures that puts on the individuals concerned, further encouraging them to not single themselves out by going public.


It is fair to say that being prone to bouts of depression could affect the availability of a player for selection for a spell of time, in a similar sense to being prone to any other sort of injury would do so (rather than them not being 'up' for any pressure game, as some would have it) and it is also a well-documented fact that one of the main symptoms of depression is to NOT talk about it to anyone.
Both of these would indicate that there would be some justification behind an inclination to keep such things quiet, as indeed Boothroyd and Carlisle did earlier this season at Northampton, but (and a big but I know) aside from any perceived 'stick' handed out by colleagues and supporters, there does not seem to be any reason why being gay should affect anyone's abilities on the field.

However, despite this I somehow suspect that we will hear from one or more current players talking about their mental health issues before we hear of any current players 'coming out', despite most or all of the same barriers they would face (ie. ignorance, outdated attitudes, etc) having been broken down by efforts made to gain acceptance of black players into our game.

If I was a player, I wonder which of the two I would be more likely to declare?"

tomoufc
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Re: Homophobia

Post by tomoufc » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:46 pm

Very interesting. Sorry I missed that on the other forum, but reading the thread was getting a bit boring (and a bit depressing).

In terms of a response I think you're rhetoical question at the end is correct, but then it just shows how one or two players 'coming out' (of whatever 'closet') can make a bis difference. BUT the fans and the club can play a massive part there, in terms of creating the right atmposhere. There was a gay English player who recently had to move to the MlS because of the fear of coming in this country. Which is interesting because it implies that American soccer fans' attitudes are much more progressive there, in a country which can been seen as bit less liberal generally as this one.
&quotI've been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job. &quot

tomoufc
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Re: Homophobia

Post by tomoufc » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:21 pm

Very interesting. Sorry I missed that on the other forum, but reading the thread was getting a bit boring (and a bit depressing).

In terms of a response I think you're rhetoical question at the end is correct, but then it just shows how one or two players 'coming out' (of whatever 'closet') can make a bis difference. BUT the fans and the club can play a massive part there, in terms of creating the right atmposhere. There was a gay English player who recently had to move to the MlS because of the fear of coming in this country. Which is interesting because it implies that American soccer fans' attitudes are much more progressive there, in a country which can been seen as bit less liberal generally as this one.
&quotI've been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job. &quot

Kairdiff Exile
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Kairdiff Exile » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:42 am

What a thoroughly depressing read that thread was. I had always assumed Oxford United had a more sophisticated and mature breed of fan - but perhaps that's what happens when one only reads and posts on this forum. Some of the horeshit being spouted at The Other Place on this topic was just mind-blowing; like going back in time 20 years.

Matt D
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Matt D » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:16 pm

i'd be interested in what others think, but my unscientific general impression is that over the last decade racism has become markedly less prevalent at OUFC matches. not to say it's not there - but i hear it less often, and see it challenged in the stands more often. i thought it was heartening the way davis incident a year or so was handled, both in the moment and in the way the club dealt with it.

i'm sure the club's work with kick it out has helped to gradually shift perceptions.

i guess my feeling is that these kinds of attitudes in football grounds follow on from broader societal changes. that's not to be blase about it and say we should just wait for things to change: it requires the kinds of initiatives that kick it out undertake, and the support of the clubs themselves. but i hope we will see something similar happening over the next decade with homophobia. kick it out is working harder at this issue, and finding more traction in 'the game'.

Paul Cooper
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Paul Cooper » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:41 pm

As the old saying goes football reflects society, so I certainly have never thought that OUFC have a more sophisticated and mature breed of supporter. As a whole group then maybe, but there are a whole lot of different individuals and some will behave with less 'sophistication' than others.

With regard to what Matt says, for things to change in grounds and in football generally in my view it needs something similar to Kick it out' to show that football will not tolerate homophobic behaviour. Clubs can help and so maybe the lobbying of OUFC to drive home their view on this would be helpful, but it probably requires a serious attempt and initiatives from the FA to start making inroads. Like the anti racism stance, it will take some time to change things significantly for the better but there is no reason why it couldn't be done if there were a will .....

Kernow Yellow
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Kernow Yellow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:42 pm

Kairdiff Exile wrote:you smug, second-rate, has-been, never-was, won-nothing chinless c**t
Kairdiff Exile wrote:I had always assumed Oxford United had a more sophisticated and mature breed of fan - but perhaps that's what happens when one only reads and posts on this forum.
Glasshouses, stones and all that. I am actually surprised that anyone who attends OUFC matches thinks we have a more sophisticated breed of fan - we have plenty of mindless, unreconstructed idiots that follow us around, and sadly some of the younger ones coming through seem to be the gobbiest and most ignorant, but I guess that's to be expected.

Anyway, back to the topic, and there is a subtle difference between racism and homophobia in football - it is obvious which the non-white people are on a football field, whereas gay footballers (presumably) try to hide the fact from others. Thus whereas racist abuse always directly targets its victims, 'homophobic abuse' at football tends to target men who look effeminate, rather than gay men. Which is not the same thing at all, and why this kind of thing can sometimes be dismissed as 'banter'. Don't get me wrong, I was embarrassed by the 'gay boy' chanting at the Bury game, and would certainly never join in. But I think there is a distinction, even if both are wrong.

As an aside, a good friend of mine came out of the Bury game absolutely fuming at the 'gayboy' chanting, which had been going on around him, and went into a tirade about how these things belong in the dark ages. While I completely agreed with the gist of what he was saying, I shut him up by reminding him that he had not long previously called me a 'fucking poof' (in jest, obviously, and part ironically) for ordering a half pint in a pub. I'm not sure what the point of that story is, other than to show the shades of grey that exist even in one right-thinking person's perception of homophobia.

I am also uncomfortable with the likening of homosexuality to mental illness (or any illness) - although I'm sure Mooro didn't mean to suggest that both are things you can 'recover' from, again I'm not sure it is helpful to try and make direct comparisons between such different issues for that reason.

Roo
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Roo » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:58 pm

Some of my best friends.....etc etc etc.

;-)

Kairdiff Exile
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Kairdiff Exile » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:37 pm

Kernow - yes, you're quite right to haul me up on my double-standards viz my Tim Henman comments, and I shall consider my wrist well and truly smacked.

In my defence, I think there is a qualitative difference between calling people names based on characteristics over which they have no control (gender, race, sexuality, hair colour etc) versus how they choose to act as a person. That is why it is entirely acceptable to give people stick over their choice of football team (or their political beliefs or even - IMHO - their religion), but it is utterly wrong to call them offensive epithets based on the colour of their skin or who they find themselves sexually attracted to.

Maybe my view of OUFC supporters is naive or optimistic. Certainly reading that other thread has reminded me why I much prefer RO to any other fora available.

Mooro
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Mooro » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:06 pm

I was only comparing the two as, unlike skin colour and a criminal past, they are something that can be, and in the football world nearly always are, kept hidden by the individual, most likely for fear of the reaction of fans and/or the football world in general. Now beyond that, I agree, that the two are very different beasts, but that fear of how they will be treated, particularly but not exclusively, by supporters remains a common theme for both.

To bring race/colour back in again, it is perhaps interesting to chart how progress has been made since black players first started to appear in the game. I am old enough to remember the 'Three Degrees' at West Brom, but not necessarily old enough to remember all that went on around them at the time (but found a recent programme remembering Laurie Cunningham very interesting). But I'm pretty sure that some of the abuse that the first black players received came from their own supporters and even in the dressing room. However, over time, team mates became more accepting, then did their own supporters (albeit while still making monkey noises at opposing black players!) and slowly with changes in society and moves like "Kick It Out", there has been much progress to the point where racism within the game is a fraction of where it was at the beginning, if not yet eradicated completely.

I wonder where on that path we are with sexuality? I hate to think what a 70s dressing room would have been like with an openly gay player in there! The question is how far have changes in society taken us without football doing anything in its own right? Have we reached the point where team mates would be accepting from the off, would their own supporters take issue with their presence at the club (as we at Oxford have seen some still doing in respect of those having served prison terms such as Chapman & McCormick)? Elements of opposing supporters would inevitably pick on the player, but would there be the same anti-reaction from other supporters (as there is now with racist chanting) or are we not there yet? Would there be an element of the supporter base who would be happy to shout someone down for being racist, but not for homophobic comments for fear of the reaction from their mates?

I guess we shall never really know until someone sticks their head above the parapet and comes out, but I wonder what further changes need to be made to the footballing environment before that someone feels ready to do so?

Mooro
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Mooro » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:06 pm


tomoufc
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Re: Homophobia

Post by tomoufc » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:59 pm

Mooro wrote:
I guess we shall never really know until someone sticks their head above the parapet and comes out, but I wonder what further changes need to be made to the footballing environment before that someone feels ready to do so?
I think you've hit the nail on the head there. If everybody (club, staff, players, fans) just waits for everyone else to raise the issue, then it quite simply won't be raised. I've emailed OxVox about it, but have been a bit dissapointed with the response so far. Is anyone here a member, or even a committee member, of OxVox? If so I'd like to send you a message about it, rather than post what could be quite unfounded criticism about them on the internet!
&quotI've been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job. &quot

Kairdiff Exile
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Re: Homophobia

Post by Kairdiff Exile » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:46 pm

Mooro wrote:I guess we shall never really know until someone sticks their head above the parapet and comes out, but I wonder what further changes need to be made to the footballing environment before that someone feels ready to do so?
Statistically, of course, there are likely to be a couple of gay players within our squad (as well as several hundreds in the average home crowd). I wonder how happy those people would feel about openly stating their sexual preferences after seeing some of last Saturday's scenes and reading the resulting thread at the Other Place. Not very, I would guess.

Which is a shame - because I'd still like to think that they would get huge support from the overwhelming majority of our fans, even if a vocal unreconstructed minority are still living in the 1950s.

tomoufc
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Re: Homophobia

Post by tomoufc » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:47 pm

Kairdiff Exile wrote:
Mooro wrote:I guess we shall never really know until someone sticks their head above the parapet and comes out, but I wonder what further changes need to be made to the footballing environment before that someone feels ready to do so?
Statistically, of course, there are likely to be a couple of gay players within our squad (as well as several hundreds in the average home crowd). I wonder how happy those people would feel about openly stating their sexual preferences after seeing some of last Saturday's scenes and reading the resulting thread at the Other Place. Not very, I would guess.

Which is a shame - because I'd still like to think that they would get huge support from the overwhelming majority of our fans, even if a vocal unreconstructed minority are still living in the 1950s.
Again, spot on.
&quotI've been a slave to football. It follows you home, it follows you everywhere, and eats into your family life. But every working man misses out on some things because of his job. &quot

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