“It is somehow a taboo subject…”
Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín has opened up about homophobia in the football industry in a new interview
Speaking with The Times, the defender spoke about the possibility of current players coming out, in which he states: “I don’t know if football is ready for that yet.”
“I’m having conversations with Gay Gooners and sometimes they go to an Arsenal pub and they’ll have issues with other Arsenal fans because they’re wearing a Gay Gooners scarf or something. Which, to me, is crazy. We’re all part of the same family,” he continued.
Bellerín has been a longstanding ally for the LGBTQ+ community, having worked with Arsenal’s LGBTQ+ support group, Gay Gooners.
He has also supported the Stonewall and the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign.
“It is somehow a taboo subject. We can have talks in the dressing room about all this stuff, but I’ve never heard of anyone [being gay].
“No one’s ever heard of anyone. I would say if there was someone who knew someone, they will keep it quiet anyway. For the sake of that person, like, trying to protect them.” he explains.
Over the years some of the industry’s biggest players have showcased their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Last week, 800 German footballers pledged their support for LGBTQ+ players in the German football magazine 11Freunde.
“It’s now 2021 – and still there is not a single openly gay football professional in the men’s game in Germany.
“Nobody should be cajoled into coming out. It’s a free and individual choice. But it’s our aim that everybody who decides to take this step can be certain of our fill support,” read the joint statement.
In a 2018 interview with Le Figaro, forward Oliver Girioud discussed his support for the LGBTQ+ community, stating: “When I joined Montpellier, I got involved in the fight for tolerance and was on the cover of [French gay magazine], Tetu. At Arsenal, when asked, I wore rainbow laces in support of the gay community.”
The fight for LGBTQ+ equality in football is still ongoing!