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Britain's gay footballers

SUICIDE: Justin Fashanu

THE GAY Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) has welcomed the Monday’s (January 31) BBC3 documentary Britain's Gay Footballers.

It features coverage of the key issues of homophobia in football - which the GFSN is fighting against. The GFSN has consistently lobbied the FA, PFA and the Government to help create a better environment in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) players can feel comfortable to 'come out' and live their lives openly.

A GFSN spokesperson said: “We do however think it is important to emphasise that at the amateur level, LGBT participation in football is flourishing.

“The GFSN National League is the world's only national 11-a-side football league aimed at the LGBT community and currently has 15 teams from across the United Kingdom.”

“Four gay football teams compete in the mainstream FA county leagues and many of our teams regularly play in international tournaments.”

For many years the GFSN has talked about the need to create a safe environment in football for LGBT football players to be able to come out if they want to, and flourish.

They have created this within the LGBT community but now want to ensure that this spreads rapidly to mainstream football.

Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer to ‘come out.” On the morning of May 3, 1998, he was found hanged in a deserted lock-up garage after committing suicide.

GFSN chairman, Chris Basiurski, said: "We welcome the BBC documentary on gay footballers and hope it stimulates debate on why professional players do not feel comfortable enough to be open about their sexuality.
“The UK is at the forefront of LGBT sport with the world's only national gay football league so it seems strange that the attitudes in the professional game are so far behind."

* BBC3 will be showing the documentary Britain's Gay Footballers on Monday, January 30 at 9pm.

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