FEBRUARY is the international month of Football v Homophobia......and on Valentine’s Day next month, when Argyle welcome Cambridge United to Home Park in Sky Bet League 2, the Pilgrims will be showcasing their support for the FvH campaign.
FvH is a campaign uniting fans, players, communities, grassroots teams, professional clubs and the Football Authorities in opposing homophobia and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in football.
The campaign lists its three objectives as: to make existing football structures safe, welcoming and inclusive for LGBT people; to create opportunities for LGBT people to engage with football; and to improve representation of LGBT people throughout football.
Year round, FvH enables people to take action against prejudice and discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in football, and to celebrate and welcome diversity in the game. This culminates in an international show of support in February to raise awareness of the issue and to showcase new and existing work.
Former Pilgrims captain Darren Purse spoke out in support of homosexual players during an interview in 2010. To date, there have been very few footballers who have publically discussed the issue and Darren’s defence of the LGBT community within modern-day football, whilst still a striking rarity in the sport, was incredibly well received.
“I’ve thought about it and there can’t be anything worse than living a lie your whole life,” Darren told The Guardian in 2010.
“As a captain, what would I do if a 21-year-old team-mate came to me and said: ‘I don’t want anyone else to know about this but I think I’m gay’? I’d like to say: ‘Life’s too short and you need to be happy’.”