Chelsea’s Florent Malouda Speaks Out Against Homophobia
The parallels between racism and homophobia do not escape Florent Malouda, Chelsea FC’s star midfielder and anti-racism ambassador, who stated he saw no difference in a recent interview – part of Kick It Out’s “One Game, One Community” weeks of action. Kick It Out is a prominent anti-discrimination organization based in the UK and focused on equality in football.
Malouda, raised in French Guiana, moved to Western Europe at age 15. Although he has not encountered racial abuse personally, he remembers discrimination and his struggles for acceptance. He acknowledges there are those who reject others due to differences in race or culture but advocates speaking openly about it, saying “you cannot act like it does not exist.” He theorizes discrimination occurs due to fear and lack of information, but suggests that education efforts that use current media and technological capabilities are the key to ending ignorance.
On the more recent issue of homophobia in football, Malouda states simply, “It is the same.” He notes the similarities with racism starting with the denial of the problem, and says “hiding behind religion” and condemning gay people as doing something “wrong” are symptoms of the same non-acceptance. He urges those who hold homophobic beliefs to “accept people as they are” and believes that once they do, they will “understand our differences are our strength.”