The World’s Favorite Pastime Has A Major Gay Problem, And Nothing’s Being Done

WorldCup06GameCrowdWhile hundreds of millions of people around the world were wrapped up in the World Cup this year — or, let’s be honest, just enjoying the scenery — gay rights organizations like GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) were following a different narrative: the rampant and largely unchecked homophobia present at the global competition.

It’s a touchy issue, and an inevitable one whenever the international community decides to put aside differences to focus on athletic achievement. Because along with differing political ideologies, some nations are vastly more evolved when it comes to LGBT rights and some cultures continue to perpetuate homophobia with more fevered intensity.

So as football mania swept up sports fans — and by all means it was an exciting and dramatic contest — there was also the problem of what to do when some fans present at matches in Brazil hurled antigay shouts veiled as “cheering” at opposing teams.

During the June 23 telecast of Mexico vs. The Netherlands, the word “puto” (as well as the antigay slur “culero”) could be heard chanted over the general ruckus and roar in the stadium. Depending on where you are in the world, puto  is either the equivalent of “faggot” or at best, a generic derogatory putdown. Conapred, Mexico’s anti-discrimination agency, has come out strongly stating that the word is offensive and hurtful.

And yet FIFA decided to ignore the issue, publicly stating that use of the antigay slurs was not offensive in the context of a soccer game. Except, of course, to all the people who were offended.

Even television networks like Univison and ESPN apologized to audiences for the language, explaining that they had no control over the feed supplied by FIFA.

In an open letter, GLAAD (along with 25 other cosigners) threatened FIFA to take a stand against homophobia, writing:

Previously, FIFA was asked to take part in a public education campaign to help eradicate anti-gay slurs from your games. That call was ignored, however. If FIFA continues to turn its head the other way and tacitly condone anti-gay discrimination, we will be left with no choice but to express our very grave concern to your sponsors, several of which have a long history of speaking out against anti-LGBT bias.

FIFA must take decisive action to eliminate anti-LGBT slurs from its venues and stop disregarding the concrete harm these slurs inflict on countless fans.

FIFA has not responded publicly.

The problem won’t go away on its own, and is only set to intensify in 2018 and 2022, when vehemently anti-gay Russia and Qatar respectively host the world stage event.

The dilemma isn’t unique to the World Cup, or to soccer. We all saw what happened with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

And while most Americans have never heard of the Commonwealth Games (it’s like a less exciting Olympics among the Commonwealth of Nations — mostly territories of the former British Empire), homophobia has taken center stage ahead of the games in Glasgow.

42 of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth criminalize homosexuality, with penalties up to life imprisonment in at least seven member states, plus the death penalty in parts of northern Nigeria and rural Pakistan, and the scheduled introduction of death by stoning in Brunei.

Some organizations like The Peter Tatchell Foundation are urging British Prime Minister David Cameron to speak up, writing:

We want the Prime Minister to give a lead and set a positive tone by publicly declaring that anti-LGBT persecution is a violation of the Commonwealth Charter and that LGBTI athletes will be welcome in Glasgow. We are asking him to state his support for Article 7 and to make it clear that no country should be permitted to discriminate with regard to who they select for the up-coming games. He should make clear that the UK government is willing to give asylum to LGBTI athletes who are at risk of victimisation in their county of origin.

As has become the unfortunate expectation at this point, no response from the British government has been issued.

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  • nsomniac

    You apparently don’t speak Spanish. Puto just means whore and culero means asshole. Before you write articles like this you should really have a translator tell you what the words really mean.

  • nsomniac

    And saying depending on where you are in the world … Well anywhere in South America that’s what those two words mean. If there is a country in Europe that means otherwise I have no idea but even in Portuguese those words mean the same thing as above.

  • Milk

    FIFA is one of the most corrupted institution. More so than some of the banana republic countries. So good luck with boycotting them. Consider the organization cater to many backward countries who treat the LGBT like pariahs. There is no incentive for the association to do anything as long as the members get their bribes from the hosting countries.

  • yaph

    queerty can the fucking slate click bait headlines

  • DickieJohnson

    Again, why does everyone seem to think that homophobia is going to simply disappear anytime in the near future, or decades, for that matter???

  • RIGay

    I don’t watch soccer. Period. Problem solved.

  • Mikah

    Cruel world.Take a stand whenever you can.Every bit makes a difference.

  • Baileynl

    Mexico vs Amsterdam??? Make that Mexico vs The Netherlands. Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands. You know, the country of which just 193 people were murdered by pro-russia terrorists in Ukraine by schooting down MH-17. Yeah, looking forward to the world cup in Russia in 2018……

  • tdx3fan

    I don’t really expect any sporting agency to police their fans. If this was a player or a member of a team’s staff that had come out publicly with homophobic slurs then I would expect them to intervene. However, it was not… this was the fans. Fans say a lot of stupid stuff towards opposite teams. Its how the games work. Personally I don’t watch soccer, but what is even more hilarious here is that GLADD has issued threats. The sponsors of the event really are going to continue to weigh the pros and cons of sponsoring it regardless. The only reason they normally lean pro-gay is that gays have the most disposable income and they want the gay dollar… however, when you are talking an event that goes world wide you have to wonder if soccer has more pros than gays in the cost benefit analysis.

  • Ben Dover

    Soccer SUCKS!

    If I want to watch an endless, pointless, dull game I will get drunk and watch baseball.

    The uniforms are cuter, and at least one team actually WINS in baseball.

  • jabuka

    @nsomniac: So why is it when I wrote puto in youtube it gave me scenes of men kissing and some homophobic material?

  • lolitavslolita

    @jabuka: cause he is one of the many mexicans who pretend that the word puto it’s not homophobic
    the same way that south park pretended faggot it’s not homophobic, puto it’s a short version of prostituto (male prostitute) the same way that puta is a short version of prostituta (female prostitute)

    because all male prostitutes were gay prostitute,the word mean homosexual, and because homosexual its the worst things you can be in mexico, puto means effeminate, stupid, malfunction, wrong, idiotic, coward and everything bad you can imagine

    but there’s people who say it’s not homophobic anymore cause people used for everything, its like people who say faggot it’s not homophobic

    im mexican by the way

  • Queer4Life

    STFU or do something. Come on people I’m not even kidding. Either STFU or do something about it, and I am not talking about a boycott either. Here is a hint… Warwick Rowers……… Think about it…
    This is a culture war and complaining at a keyboard isn’t going to anything for anybody. You want to fight this crap then somebody put together a ‘Warwick Rowers’ for soccer. Not only will it make a splash, it will actually do some good.

Comments are closed.