Balloon floats over Pride to showcase lack of gay players in the Premier League
If you were asked to name one famous gay footballer, you’d probably struggle.
Despite the Premier League boasting many famous names, there are barely any from LGBTQ backgrounds.
To highlight the lack of queer players, a giant footballer balloon was released during Brighton Pride this weekend.
Retired Scottish football player, Graeme Souness, walked behind the inflatable – one of the biggest at a Pride Parade – to showcase his support for the LGBTQ community.
Proud United – a team made up of LGBTQ footballers from across the nation – also walked in the shadow of the colossal balloon.
It took two hours to inflate and required enough helium to fill 7,000 balloons.
Graeme, a Liverpool legend and football pundit, took up the role as the symbolic manager of Proud United.
The team aims to draw attention to the lack of visibility of LGBTQ players in the sport.
Right now there are no openly gay or bisexual players in the Premier League.
The float – which measures seven metres tall and 14 metres long – was erected in association with Paddy Power as part of its Come Out and Play campaign. The betting shop is also the official partner of Brighton Pride and is in the second year of its inclusive campaign.
‘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 Graeme.
‘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.’
In the UK there are more than one million people who identify as LGB, according to 2017 figures from the Office of National Statistics.
With approximately 500 players signed for the Premier League, it is curious that not a single one has come out as gay or otherwise.
And it’s not that they don’t exist, FA Chairman Greg Clarke has revealed that he knows at least two players who are gay, but are not ready to share this with the world.
The need to normalise acceptance in football is clearly an issue that needs to be tackled.
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