In the wake of the weekend weddings of same sex couples in Canberra, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, through their Facebook page, made a strong statement of support for the ACT Government’s stance in the area of marriage equality. A cynic would say that the club did it due to a keenness for more support in progressive Canberra, but even so, it’s still an admirable stance for what is still a contentious issue for some in the community.
It is illustrative, therefore to look at the Facebook responses to the statement made by the Giants. It seems that homophobia still runs strong amongst some people – especially men.
Note the opposition fan speaking about a “failing” franchise and then the other user making a reference to the “carbon tax”, as if marriage equality is just an issue of the ALP and Greens, rather than all Australians. Those who complain about a club being interested in “political issues” remain curiously quiet when clubs announce Government funding of their stadiums and training facilities. It is usually the case that when people decry to introduction of “politics” into sport, it’s because the complainant doesn’t agree with the politics of the stance. Or, in this case, the admission that people are gay and should be afforded access to marriage.
The support for the stance, however, became more vocal as the thread continued.
However, the thinly veiled homophobia (or not veiled at all) was not far from the surface – The conversation became more heated as men (again) came back in to either be out and proud about their homophobia or, claim that they weren’t homophobic, but…
Note that Adam Smith and a couple of other men seem to have some issues…
And so it continued, finishing here with the activist homophobe who is railing against a lack of “moral values” – I am surprised that there weren’t many more of these, using their family – and children – as a pawn for their political game of putting pressure on the club.
And there it is – I don’t necessarily think there is “so much homophobia in AFL fans” in exclusion from the wider population. Plus, these are isolated examples of homophobic attitudes – as well as a desire to avoid all “politics” – as in, progressive politics, in sport. The furphy that opposition to marriage equality isn’t homophobic isn’t repeated all that much here – it’s a furphy because there aren’t reasons afforded that aren’t related to the homosexual community being the “other”, the “outsiders” who don’t deserve the same cultural traditions as heterosexual people. This thread provides ample evidence of the homophobic attitudes that do still exist amongst some in the community.
The Giants’ stance is admirable, and would do well to ignore the outcry from a few cranks. Homophobia, whether it’s overt or hidden behind cries about “politics”, is of a previous age and football clubs are starting to embrace that.