Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gay footballers promote tolerance in Hampshire

From the Southern Daily Echo:

But while those who run the FA may be questioning what to do about homophobia in the sport, gay men up and down the country are getting on and playing the game. Among them are the members of Bournemouth and Hampshire Gay Football Club. The club, which is gay and gay-friendly, has been going for around six years. It was part of the national gay football league, Gay Football Supporters’ Network, but due to the cost of competing in the national league they have now formed a southern league of their own.

Glen Smith, the club treasurer, has been playing with Bournemouth and Hampshire GFC for around three-and-ahalf years. His reason for being in the club is, he explains, simply that he wants to play football. “I think the idea behind the club is a lot of our team wouldn’t be playing football otherwise. They wouldn’t want to join a straight team because they’d feel intimidated – you get the whole lad thing. People don’t realise that we just like football and we want to play football. That’s it really!”

Club chairman Martin Hastings says that the banter and macho, hightestosterone atmosphere of football can make it difficult for gay people to play in a straight team. "I think now, if I was on a straight team, I’d be more confident to come out and say that I’m gay,” says the 23-year-old. “When I was in my teens, it was quite daunting, especially because the people you are playing with are your friends. It’s hard enough to come out to one person, let alone a whole team. You think ‘Are people going to be comfortable with me in the changing room?’ And all straight men think they’re God’s gift as soon as there’s a gay man around!” laughs Glen.

The team play straight and gay clubs and have found that people react in different ways when they learn that they are a largely gay team. “When people hear you play for a gay team they say ‘Do you wear pink?’ or ‘Do you play against women?’” says Martin. “So many people have said after they’ve played us: ‘Oh, you’re good – we thought you’d be rubbish’,” adds Glen.

The men hope having gay and gay-friendly teams will help break down some of the homophobia in football, but they acknowledge that segregation could be a problem. “A lot of the gay teams segregate themselves and only play other teams in the gay league,” says Martin. “We play straight teams too – they don’t even always know that we’re gay. I think that’s the way to tackle homophobia. I don’t think only playing gay teams helps football to progress. At least having a gay team and a gay league shows that gay people do care about football,” Glen adds. “But I’d like the gay league to eventually be fully integrated.”

Martin and Glen agree that for some teams in the national gay league, the social aspect is as, if not more, important than the game. But for them, football comes first. They train regularly in Southampton and play matches across the south in the mini-league they have formed. This includes straight teams as well as gay-friendly ones.

The men agree it would be good if there were some prominent gay role models in football but believe it is a particularly hard sport to come out in. “When you think of football fans, there’s a lot of passion within the sport. If you compare that to, say, cricket or golf, they’ve got totally different audiences,” says Martin. “I think it would help if someone came out but I think it’s down to them.”

“In the past, it’s ruined people,” adds Glen. “Why would anyone want that thrust upon them?”

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