The Power of Allies
The year 2011 saw two professional soccer players come out of the closet. Whether or not Anton Hysen and David Testo open the floodgates for other announcements to come or not will remain to be seen in the months ahead. We’re not going to be in the business of dragging GLBT players out of the closet here at gay4soccer. But we will be spending some time asking people to come out…as allies.
Imagine how David Testo’s career would have gone if he didn’t have supportive people to come out to early on in his career while at the Columbus Crew. I’d like to think the kindness and support of the players he told kept him in the game and standing strong against the on-field taunts he’s had to endure. More players and other soccer personalities out as allies will help others find the courage to become out, proud soccer players.
More allies on and off the field will also help the soccer experience for gay fans and draw more members of the GLBT community to the game. Players participating in gay-friendly events is a great way to evangelize the sport–I would imagine a few gay guys in Seattle took an interest in the Sounders after a few of the players tended bar for a night at their favorite hangout. Allied players will also make it clear that homophobic rhetoric is not permissible as part of the game.
So with this in mind, we’ll be doing some things to get members of the soccer community to come out as allies.
First, we have launched an Allies Page, where we will keep track of players and other folks who have publicly said they are allies or otherwise done work in support of the GLBT community. We’ll be contacting players and others via Twitter and other means and encouraging them to become a part of the page. If you are or know of someone in soccer who wants to be or should be on the page, let us know on Twitter or by email with a link to an article or Tweet that we can include on the page. We’ll be using the hashtag #soccerally as well to keep track of Tweets.
The second thing we’ll be doing is asking personalities in the soccer community to participate in events that show support for the GLBT community. This month, the NOH8 Campaign is holding a photo shoot in Los Angeles and their first-ever one in Salt Lake City.
Help us contact players for the LA Galaxy, Chivas USA, and Real Salt Lake — as well as other soccer personalities in these cities — and encourage them to be a part of the NOH8 project. Use Twitter or any other method at your disposal (Tommy’s recent post about LA players is a great place to start) and let them know how much you’d appreciate their standing up for GLBT rights by being a part of the campaign.
Who will be the next American soccer player or personality to join Mike Chabala, Michael Lahoud, and Justin Braun?