Remember Justin Fashanu? FIFA should.

Justin Fashanu
Justin Fashanu - the first (and only) professional football player in Britain to come out as gay.

Readers may be interested in the statement on the Justin Campaign website regarding the FIFA decision on the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

Justin Campaign concern

The Justin Campaign is deeply concerned by FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. Both of these countries have extremely poor records on the issue of LGBT rights. Only last year, the mayor of Moscow deemed a gay pride march in the capital as “satanic”, while participants in the march, including Peter Tatchell, were arrested. In Qatar, homosexuality is still illegal with both lashes and imprisonment often the punishment. Therefore, despite their apparent commitment to humanitarian values and the promotion of global solidarity through football, FIFA is sending out a message loud and clear that the rights of the global LGBT community do not even register on their agenda. This institutional indifference to the rights of LGBT people is symptomatic of the challenge facing all of us who are fighting against homophobia in football and it is a stark and sad reminder of just how much work we still need to do.

statement on FIFA’s decision to award Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups

Who was Justin Fashanu?

Peter Tatchell describes Justin…

Justin Fashanu was a trail-blazer. He was Britain’s first million pound black footballer, and the first (and only) professional player in Britain to come out as gay. But trail-blazing cost him plenty of heartache. In 1980, aged 19, he was signed to Nottingham Forest football club for £1 million. The expectations of Justin were huge. There was the pressure to deliver goals and to become a black spokesperson. He found his sudden celebrity-status both a flattery and a great burden. Back then, in 1980, Justin was not open about his homosexuality. Indeed, he didn’t come out until 10 years later. During that decade of closeted double-life, he found it immensely difficult to cope with the strain of hiding his gayness in the macho world of football – not to mention the stress of living a secret gay life while constantly in the media spotlight.Homophobia was not his only problem. Like many black footballers in those days, Justin suffered racism too. He was subjected to frequent racist taunts by fans from rival teams. They would make monkey noises and gestures, and throw bananas onto the pitch. But it was anti-gay prejudice that ultimately dragged him down…

read the rest here

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