Tag Archives: LBGT

As Birmingham City await, the Bees help give homophobia the boot

25 Nov

Saturday afternoon sees Brentford host Birmingham City in front of what is sure to be a big crowd at Griffin Park. Will the Bees get back to winning ways? Can the Blues continue a run of form which has seen them climb to fifth in the Championship table? Will this one peter out to a draw as two normally tight defences come head to head?

Whatever the result, there is as much significance in matters surrounding the game as there is when Mr Madley (Andy, not Robert of Leyton Orient infamy) puts the whistle to his lips and blows to start proceedings at 3pm. It is Rainbow Laces weekend. A weekend where Brentford  have joined forces with Stonewall to demonstrate that homophobia is unacceptable whilst making it clear that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are welcome at every level of sport. And with apologies to the club for shamelessly lifting from their own article (which, if you’d like to read more, you can do so in full here in full here) thousands of people across Britain, from fans to players, will lace up this weekend as part of a UK-wide campaign to make sport everyone’s game.

It is an event that I gather the club have been planning since September, Captain Harlee Dean has already been pictured in the promotional photographs whilst the matchday programme features a quite wonderful piece of cover art. Hats off to the club for looking to innovate here. We’ve already had a fan designed front page feature on the award winning edition produced for the Barnsley game but this takes things to another level. Classy art and a campaign that, one would hope, all supporters can give their backing to. Great job to all in the media dept and the team behind the programme.

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This is a subject we’ve looked at before, during ‘Football v Homophobia’ (FvH) month a couple of years ago. It is one that is close to my heart and primarily because prejudice and bigotry are a neanderthal attiude that would, frankly, be an insult to neanderthals. But, equally, for no other reason than for some years now the ever-evolving group of friends I watch The Bees with has included a couple whom, for months, I had no clue were in a same sex relationship. And why would it even matter? For me, it’s all about supporting my team with my friends.

What difference does it make to you? What difference would it actually make if the likes of Sam Saunders, Harlee Dean or anybody at our club were to tell you they were lesbian, gay, bi or trans?  To be quite honest one or all of them might be. I just don’t know. And, frankly, I don’t care. Without wanting to get preachy, an individual’s sexual preference is a relevant to me as what they order off the menu at Nandos (the staple hang out of footballers after training, if social media is to be believed) . I neither know or, more importantly, care.

That isn’t meant to trivialise the issues faced by the LBGT community. Quite the opposite. I just genuinely don’t understand why other people get so hung up about it.

I’ve been coming to Brentford since the late 1970s and, thankfully, unless I am being horrendously naïve, homophobia isn’t an issue that usually rears its head on the terraces. My own son has been joining me at games for three seasons now and I love the fact that we have such an inclusive atmosphere at Griffin Park. If there wasn’t one, we wouldn’t be here.

That said, I’ve personally been witness to the odd incident this season whilst most people with eyes on the game or social media accounts will be aware that this is still a larger issue in football. Just look at the press surrounding the unsavoury build up to this year’s League Cup tie between West Ham and Chelsea.

However, the difference now is that whilst this may have been ‘the norm’ back in the 70s and 80s, people are realising that in the 21st Century it is just unacceptable behaviour. And, quite rightly, they are  pushing back on it. Whether in as simple a form as asking fellow fans to hold back on the language or in a more sweeping statement such as the one made by the club in dedicating their programme cover to raising awareness. It is a wonderful gesture and, certainly, one publication I’ll be looking to pick up in or around the ground this weekend.

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Harlee Dean shows his support

Nick Bruzon

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Brentford v Wolves – there’s more to this game than just football

22 Feb

The following article was originally published earlier this month. However, with Brentford v Wolves now being designated as the club’s ‘football v homophobia’ game after the Crawley match was postponed, it is reproduced here, as alluded to in today’s other column.

What would you do if I were to tell you that Sam Saunders, Will Grigg or, for that matter, any of the Brentford first team was gay?

To be quite honest one or all of them might be. I just don’t know. And, frankly, I don’t care. Without wanting to get preachy (and don’t worry, I won’t) an individual’s sexual preference should be as relevant to us as what brand of soap powder they wash their training kit in. Persil or Ariel – I neither know or, more importantly, have any interest.

This isn’t meant to trivialise the issues faced by the LBGT community. Quite the opposite. I just genuinely don’t understand why other people get so hung up about it.

I’ve been coming to Brentford since the late 1970s and, thankfully, unless I am being horrendously naïve, homophobia isn’t an issue that usually rears its head on the terraces. Indeed, in recent years the ever-evolving group of friends I watch The Bees with has included a couple whom, for months, I had no clue were in a same sex relationship. And why should I?

What has made me particularly happy is that one of them has since said to me, “Its got to the point where I’ve realised that the people I used to’ just watch football with’ have actually become my friends”.

This isn’t an attempt to paint yours truly as some paragon of virtue. Simply that one of the reasons I still love coming to Brentford – and will bring my son when he is old enough – is the friendly, community atmosphere that runs throughout our family of supporters and every aspect of the club. Things as nasty as racism, sexism or homophobia have never struck me as being a problem at Griffin Park.

Sadly, things aren’t that way throughout the wider football world. I’m neither eloquent nor intelligent enough to talk at length about homophobia in the game or explicitly promote the good work now being done to help combat the prejudice expressed by many. That’s why when we have a day like this coming Saturday – when Brentford face Wolves – I’ll leap on any opportunity where I can to get involved.

Aswell as another chance to see the League’s two best teams in action, with February being the international month of ‘Football v Homophobia’ (FvH), the club have selected this game to show their backing for this initiative.

It is an excellent chance for fans to show their support for this campaign but, equally, that Brentford is not a club where bigotry or discrimination of any form is welcome .

If you would like to learn more then you can visit the website at www.footballvhomophobia.com or catch up on the twitter feed at: @FvHTweets .

Brentford v Crawley – there’s more to this game than just football

5 Feb

What would you do if I were to tell you that Sam Saunders, Will Grigg or, for that matter, any of the Brentford first team was gay?

To be quite honest one or all of them might be. I just don’t know. And, frankly, I don’t care. Without wanting to get preachy (and don’t worry, I won’t) an individual’s sexual preference should be as relevant to us as what brand of soap powder they wash their training kit in. Persil or Ariel – I neither know or, more importantly, have any interest.

This isn’t meant to trivialise the issues faced by the LBGT community. Quite the opposite. I just genuinely don’t understand why other people get so hung up about it.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.