Football 4 Peace v Homophobia
On Wednesday the 4th May 2016, Football 4 Peace teamed up with the University of Brighton’s School for Sport and Service Management and Brighton Student Union to host an F4P v Homophobia Festival alongside students, staff and residents in the town of Eastbourne, East Sussex. Football 4 Peace International is the University of Brighton’s in-house NGO that uses sport as a vehicle to promote peace in local communities all over the world in places including Northern Ireland, South Korea and The Gambia.
The event took place at the Eastbourne Campus, with an audience mainly composed by students and staff that eagerly awaited for all the guest speakers’ presentations at the symposium. Sophie Cook, the first official Premier League transgender photographer for AFC Bournemouth shared her life experiences in the process of ‘coming out’.
Also in attendance was Dr Jayne Caudwell of the University of Bournemouth, to share her experience since the festival started 5 years ago, who also mentioned how the event has been improving over time. To finish, the trio of speakers, Darryl Telles, of the Proud Lilywhites, the Tottenham Hotspur LGBT+ supporters group, shared his 20-year experience as an activist at the football grounds, to raise awareness against homophobia and challenges in changing the behaviour of their supporters by leading by example. It was a heart-warming experience for the audience at these living examples of bravery, resilience and persistence. They were all very genuine and enthusiastic while they answered questions from the audience and shared their pride of being part of the event.
The day then progressed with 5-a-side fancy dress football tournament for students and members of the public paying tribute to the Justin Fashanu and the Justin Campaign. The guest speakers joined in and played alongside students to show their commitment and engagement to the cause.
Football 4 Peace International is committed to running this event every year and the main aim was to get the wider public to be aware and challenge the current status of LGBT+ agenda in sport in hope that it will inspire elite sports organisations and fan groups to include and respect the choices in sexual gender and orientation. Now that F4P have kickstarted their campaign it’s the hope that other organisations will engage to carry on the momentum gathered so far.