Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Gay World Cup

The 10th Gay World Cup kicks off this week in Buenos Aires. It’s the first time the tournament has been held in Latin America – a region, notes the BBC, “dominated by macho culture and traditional [Roman] Catholic values.” Yet it’s also “a continent mad about its football.” As a result, football fans throughout the region are showing support for the Gay World Cup.

Gay and lesbian football teams began to appear on the scene almost three decades ago and the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association was soon formed to act as a governing body for the sport. The goal of the organization is to “engender respect and understanding from the non-gay world, through the medium of football (soccer).”

Close to 30 teams from nine countries are competing in this year’s Gay World Cup – one that’s expected to be the biggest ever, with categories for both men and women.

Mexico’s gay soccer team with, presumably,
one of the team member’s mother!

According to the BBC report I watched earlier this evening, “the world of soccer is one facet of life that many gay fans say they feel isolated from. The International Gay and Lesbian Football Association says this tournament gives players the chance to compete in the sport they love without fear of discrimination.”

For some of the players it’s also a chance to dispel stereotypes about gay life: “We want to abolish the belief that the gay community is always found in nightclubs – drinking, looking for sex, and taking drugs,” one player told the BBC.

The event will be played in Buenos Aires’ Sarmiento Park and is supported by the Argentina Soccer Association (AFA), the Argentine Homosexuality Community (CHA), and football’s international governing body, FIFA.

AFA vice president Julio Grondona said: “The World Championship is a sports and political event with a clear message: every player has the right to calmly express his sexual orientation without any kind of prejudice.”

Gay soccer player Diego Alfonso

The opening ceremony for the tournament will take place on Sunday, September 23rd, and will kick off the week long event.

In 2008 the Gay World Cup will be held in London.

Recommended Off-site Links:
Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Soccer
Germany’s Gay Soccer Players Stuck Firmly in the Closet
Gay World Cup Reaches Its Anti-Climax - Monkey Woods (, May 9, 2007).

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

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