Arsenal’s Gay Gooners LGBT fan group was a pioneering movement in the Premier League but unfortunately, not many teams have followed in our footsteps.
When Gay Gooners was originally established in 2013, Arsenal were the first club to create a fan group that exclusively welcomed members of the LGBT+ community. Since, other Premier League clubs, such as Tottenham Hotspur, have followed suit.
However, it’s since come to light that, bizarrely, not all Premier League clubs have jumped on board. Stoke and Sunderland currently have no recognised LGBT fan group, whereas four of the Premier League clubs contacted by BBC’s Newsbeat, refused to answer.
Despite what many who aren’t part of the LGBT+ community might think, homophobic is still a huge issue in football and these fan groups are a safe space for people in what can be an horrifically hostile environment.
— gaygooners (@gaygooners) July 28, 2015
As Steve, a member of Gay Gooners told Newsbeat, “It’s just a social group for like-minded supporters to meet up and have a few drinks.”
Chris Paouros, part of Pride in Football, a movement designed to help kick homophobia out of football, said, “We know that LGBT fans sometimes don’t go to football because it doesn’t feel like a safe place to be.”
Although I’m glad Arsenal are the first team to avidly set up a LGBT+ fan group, it’s concerning that all the other Premier League teams haven’t followed suit. There’s absolutely no reason not to.
For more information on Gay Gooners, you can visit them here.