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TAKING A STAND IN THE STANDS

March 15, 2011

The first ever gay fan club for Poland’s national football team has asked organisers of the 2012 European Championships to set aside separate seating for LGBT fans so that they are protected against potential homophobia.

Teczowa Trybuna (Rainbow Stand) 2012 posted on its website that: “During trips to matches of our beloved clubs.we unfortunately are often faced with unpleasantness, harassment and violence from the ‘real’ fans…”

This is an unfortunate situation. I have great respect for this openly gay (and proud) fan group, especially since Poland still carries a stigma against homosexuality. Add to this the thug and hooligan culture of football and it is clear that Teczowa Trybuna has a very good reason for their request.

If I’m honest, I do not believe segregating the stands is the way to go. Wouldn’t this just drive a wedge between straight and LGBT fans? I’m sure the separation will certainly not help maintain an equal and all-inclusive community, and if anything will provoke hostility towards the fan group from less accepting supporters.

I am not alone in this viewpoint. A spokesman for Warsaw’s Campaign Against Homophobia, Gregory Czarnecki, said: “I don’t think many people would be brave enough to not only come out, but also to sit in this section.” I believe he is right. The process of eradicating bigotry from football is still in its early stages, and surely the better aim would be to embrace LBGT fans and welcome them to the fold rather than pen them away for their own protection.

There is still another year to pass before Euro 2012 takes place in the Ukraine and Poland, so let’s hope that there will be some progress for Teczowa Trybuna and its supporters.

Laura Staniforth

source.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2011 3:13 am

    I tend to agree with you, I don’t see how segregating LGBT fans into their own stands to prevent homophobia really prevents abuse/phobia. In face, I agree, I think it drives a wedge between the fans. And it will also drive home the belief that they are somehow different, when really most of us just want to be treated like everyone else (as far as being a footie fan/sports fan is considering), we don’t want to be treated differently, and drawing attention to the sexuality will, I think, make it worse for those who choose to sit in those seats.

  2. March 17, 2011 5:37 pm

    Please see a written response from Teczowa Trybuna on The Justin Campaign blog.

    http://justincampaign.blogspot.com/2011/03/equality-in-stands-2.html

    • Laura Staniforth permalink
      March 17, 2011 10:16 pm

      Hello Darren,

      I wrote the above article and am very intrigued to see the response. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
      I realise it must be incredibly difficult for the members of Teczowa Trybuna, but I’m afraid I might not comprehend what they face in Poland. May I ask your opinion on the matter?

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