We have already discussed the politics that have been dragged into the Euro 2020 football tournament. From booing the players taking the knee to attempting to light up Munich stadium in rainbow colours, it’s definitely been about more than just football.
One thing cannot be denied about international sport is that it unifies people. Personally I’ll never forget how good it felt to be British during the London 2012 Olympic Games. I’m not a football fan but watching the England vs Germany game tonight felt more LGBTQ+ inclusive, even if just aesthetically.
Almost every advert on the pitch level digital hoardings at the stadium had the LGBTQ+ colours emblazoned with their logo. From Heineken to TikTok, it was clear that the corporations were full of Pride… but to what end?
The game was invigorating and from a gay man’s perspective, I already knew how the German captain had been vocal against the new anti-LGBT laws in Hungary, but wasn’t aware that the English captain Harry Kane was going to wear Pride colours on his arm. A tremendous display of allyship, and on a very global playform.
While they battled it out in a historic match, what I was left with was the effort companies and players are making to change what has seemed like a non-inclusive sport for some time.
Elsewhere, following Carl Nassib coming out this month, the NFL in America this week revealed a new promo (below), with links to support the Trevor Project and the caption: “If you love this game, you are welcome here. Football is for all. Football is for everyone. The NFL stands by the LGBTQ+ community today and every day”.
This feels like, and hopefully is a true sign of, real progress. Let’s hope change is both in the air and on the pitch!