Gareth Thomas Hub

UK Soccer Fans Are Ready For An Openly Gay Player

It seems like soccer fans in Europe care more about the way the sport is played than who plays in the games themselves. So says a new research study in the UK:

Justin"In a survey of 3,000 people published by the University of Staffordshire, eight out of 10 supporters said gay players would have a positive effect on the sport, comparable to how the influx of black players helped the games tackle racism in the 1980s and 1990s." 

"'One fan told us: 'I'd rather have a gay player who can play than a straight one who can't.' And this is a typical view, not just from supporters but from everyone associated with football,' said Ellis Cashmore, professor of culture, media and sport at the University, in the Observer newspaper."

About half of those questioned could see a positive impact from a well-known player's coming out, comparing him to Gareth Thomas, who came out at the peak of his rugby career.

The Guardian reports: "Of those football fans questioned in the research, more than 52% believe the greatest cause for a change in attitudes in the game would be a Gareth Thomas-type player coming out. A campaign backed by leading players was also considered by almost 31% to be influential."

One respondent in the study believes an openly gay footballer could be win-win for the player: "He could make a lot of money [as] the first gay footballer....when football joins the 21st century."

The actual first player in the sport to publicly come out was Justin Fashanu who did so in 1990. He sadly took his own life eight years later.

Mickey Rourke to Play Gay Rugby Legend Gareth Thomas?


Mickey Rourke has met with openly gay rugby star Gareth Thomas in hopes of portraying him in a biopic, Wales on Sunday reports:

Thomas  "The actor got in touch with the Crusaders star after reading about his life story and deciding he was 'the perfect model' for a film, the player’s management have revealed. The managers of both The Wrestler star and the Bridgend-born 35-year-old are now trying to thrash out a deal to get a movie of the life of Wales’ most-capped international onto the big screen. The pair met for the first time last week at the filming of Jonathan Ross’ last BBC chat show, where Rourke was a guest. A spokesman for Thomas’ management company told Wales on Sunday: 'Mickey Rourke is a big rugby fan and was flying to New York from London recently when he read an article about Gareth and thought he would be the perfect model for a film.  Mickey contacted Gareth directly via a mutual friend in rugby league to express his interest and invited Gareth to watch the Jonathan Ross show and to meet him for dinner afterwards.' Oscar-nominated actor Rourke, 57 – who is a trained boxer – is believed to have been keen to do a film about rugby for some time. But before discovering Thomas’ story he was not sure about how to find an angle for the project."

Amaechi: 'Not The Job Of Sports Stars In The Closet To Come Out'

In an apparent response to Lord Browne's essay in The Guardian this past Thursday, the paper takes on the coming out of high-profile figures and wants to know if revealing your homosexuality is a "career killer." While being gay has become "a non-issue" for politicians (at least those in the UK), many people in sports and entertainment have remained closeted until they've reached a certain level of success and even then those are few and far between. Ricky Martin and Gareth Thomas are both used as examples.

Attitude magazine editor Andrew Todd: "I think that if Ricky Martin had come out in 1999, I don't think he would have had the career that he has had. In Hollywood, there is still a message that you can't be gay."

Am Some athletes, such as openly gay former professional basketball player John Amaechi, are now suggesting that pro ballers should not even be pressured to come out of the closet. Amaechi told the Manchester Evening News:

“I get into trouble sometimes with the gay community by saying it is not the job of sports stars in the closet to come out. That is not how change happens. For an under-prepared and psychologically stunted individual who plays sports at a high level to come out before they are ready is like being born prematurely. Unequivocally, being out is better than staying in, but those who do come out need support.”

When speaking to The Guardian, he expanded upon those thoughts:

"I wish the environment was such that more people felt they could come out. It's absolutely amazing to me that some people think that not coming out is a weakness of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people, whereas instead it's because of a hostile culture. It's never the responsibility of the minority to make the majority change."

While it may not be the responsibility of the minority, sometimes the minority has no choice but to take on that responsibility.

Related, Amaechi has just become a patron LGBT History month in the UK which will be observed in February.

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RoadGay Dubai student sentenced to three years in prison asks court to segregate him from the general prison population if his sentence is upheld: "The 22-year-old M N was sentenced to three years in jail by Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance in March after he appeared in pornographic pictures that were distributed online. He was arrested at Dubai International Airport on July 20 last year with his male partner, who had been convicted of homosexuality and sentenced to one year in jail. Yaser al Naqbi, M N’s lawyer, said in today's closing argument that his client should be acquitted because of what he called improper arrest and search procedures. He also called the writ used when apprehending M N into question."

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RoadBombers target World Cup soccer fans in Uganda, kill more than 60: "The bombs exploded at 10:30 p.m. local time in the middle of the match between Spain and the Netherlands under way in South Africa, with at least three explosions hitting a popular Ethiopian garden restaurant and a large rugby field in a different Kampala neighborhood where hundreds of people had massed to watch the game. More than 70 people were injured."

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RoadIf Queen Latifah considers being a lesbian to be part of her "personal, personal life" then she will never come out.

RoadCastleford Rugby Club bans three fans for anti-gay abuse of player Gareth Thomas.

RoadRush Limbaugh sells NYC penthouse for $11.5 million: "A year after railing about the high tax burden on wealthy New Yorkers, Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk-show host, is severing one more tie with New York, selling his lushly decorated Fifth Avenue penthouse to an undisclosed buyer. Mr. Limbaugh's 10-room condominium, which features a 30-foot-wide living room with fireplace and four terraces overlooking Central Park at East 86th Street, went into contract Thursday for a bit under the final $12.95 million asking price, brokers said."

London Pride Parade's Got A Million Of 'Em


Image from here.

Herbertfeatherstone London Pride attracted about a million people Saturday to watch around 150 floats make their way from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square. Pro-gay Christian groups were among them, as were Conservative MP Nick Herbert and Liberal Democrat Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone, the latter of whom recently suggested the UK is on the verge of religious unions that would resemble marriage.

Herbert addressed the need for gay representation in government:

"I'm a gay man, I'm an out politician and I'm a member of parliament. In the last parliament, we had just a handful of out gay MPs. Now we have 15 out gay MPs who are mostly Conservatives. We also have two lesbians but we need to make sure there are more. Next week, a child will be bullied in school because he or she is gay. Next week, a player will be abused from the terraces because he or she is gay. Next week, a person will be a victim of a hate attack because he or she is gay. We cannot allow that to go on."

Lesbian MP Angela Eagle was the most senior Labour representative, but she did not speak.

Olympic-rainbow-flag- Out Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas (who won't be playing for a while due to a weekend injury) encouraged attendees to wear "with pride" the new gay-pride pin created by the organizing committee of the 2012 Olympics. It looks a bit like something alarming is eating a rainbow flag, but anything for LGBT visibility. Get yours today.

A personal account of London Pride is here.

Manager for Gay Rugby Player Gareth Thomas Calls £40,000 Fine for Homophobic Taunts 'Historic'

A British rugby team has been fined £40,000 for homophobic chants directed at openly gay player Gareth Thomas.

Thomas The Yorkshire Post reports:

"Castelford Tigers are thought to have become the first British professional sports club to be fined because fans shouted homophobic chants. The West Yorkshire outfit have been served a £40,000 punishment by a Rugby Football League operational tribunal after being found guilty of misconduct during an Engage Super League fixture against Crusaders RL at The Jungle on March 26. Some Castleford supporters aimed derogatory comments at Crusaders winger Gareth Thomas, the former Wales and British Lions captain who announced he was gay in December and was making only his second appearance since switching codes."

Said Thomas' manager Emanuele Palladino, in an official statement: 'Today has been an historic day. Gareth Thomas is all about delivering positive messages and positive changes, and to that end today was a huge step forward for Gareth and the world of sport. It is not about the fine, but rather recognition that this behaviour from a small section of the Castleford fans is not acceptable in 2010. Unfortunately what happened at Castleford could not be ignored. We are delighted that the RFL have taken action against what is a serious and upsetting incident for all parties. Their stance makes it clear that behaviour like this is not, and should not be acceptable in the world we live in today.'"

The Tigers are set to appeal the ruling after seeking legal advice.

Said the club's lawyer: "There was some chanting on the day, we agreed this with the tribunal panel. There were three incidents, lasting only a few moments, two of which were drowned out by public address announcements.  The club condemns any person who makes or chants obscene remarks towards players or officials. But the charges against the club are not that there was any chanting, they are that the club failed to take its best best endeavours to prevent or stop any chanting. This the club refutes totally.  The club has a well-established system for dealing with chanting and could not have done any more on the day.  This season the club has been one of the most pro-active in Super League when it comes to promoting a family-friendly environment at the stadium, working hard all season to create an atmosphere within the stadium that is inclusive for all sections of the community."


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