Game Changer 

Hey Readers. In this my latest post for LGBT history month I look at football from the perspective of a community often stereotyped as not being interested in the game or for that matter any form of team sports. This of course is complete nonsense and I speak from the experience of being a transsexual Celtic fan who cares passionately for her club. The idea that there are no LGBT football fans is about as ludicrous as saying that we should return to the days when children were working down mines Among my friends I count gay men, lesbians and fellow trans women who support both  Celtic and Rangers  as well as a number of   other clubs and they have every right to support the team of their choice  without fear ,  prejudice , or discrimination. It is with in mind I have written this poem  which chronicles the gradual shift in social and cultural attitudes which has made it easier for us to support our teams with pride and at pride.  I have given it the title Game Changer I hope you enjoy the read. 

Game Changer 

It’s a West of Scotland Saturday 

sexuality or gender identity 

are the last things on the minds

of many friends who ready themselves 

to go to football games

and faithfully support their sides

as kick off time approaches 

I ask myself the question

from which they can run but never hide 

will we ever see footballers at pride 

the way we do at anti racist events 

surely this would be a game changer 

as to how fans view the rainbow 

I speak from the heart on this issue 

as an out trans woman I proudly wear 

My Celtic scarf around my neck 

In a way which would not have been possible 

30 years ago or even 15

when cheering our team no matter  who 

 would have been a far more  difficult ask 

the mask of respectably 

would have deemed it a game we couldn’t win 

we’ve travelled a  long journey since then 

those were  the days 

when football was or so we are told 

the  preserve of macho voices 

on terraces and stands 

 our community the silent fans 

who supported our clubs in all seasons 

 now openly express affection 

when goals are scored and trophies won 

but will rocks melt with the sun 

before a big name player comes out 

during their glory years 

is there still a culture of fear in the beautiful game 

 which lives on through talk which links football

with ships and whisky 

and  after match drinks in bars 

in bars perceived too risky 

for women to enter 

as men said no surrender 

to the ways of the grand old team 

Is scheme nostalgia still alive 

in homes with middle class salaries 

a football fan’s sexuality or gender identity 

doesn’t mean an automatic penalty 

for the opposition

 in every game we play 

we can watch sportscene  and match of the day 

talk tactics and debate substitutions 

just as well as any straight white man can 

and many cases better 

it’s time to blow the whistle 

on this homophobic and transphobic agenda

and give the red card to the last unspoken prejudice 

our fans wear all colours 

cheer their teams through thick and thin 

we don’t just go for glamour clubs

or sing when we’re winning 

maybe if players came to pride 

or attended LGBT history events 

it would kick off a new game

with respect as the goal to be scored 

then no longer marginalised or ignored 

we would have our game changing moment 

with every club included in the rainbow. 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

 

 


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2 thoughts on “Game Changer 

    • Hey Beth I think you’ve hit on a good point there that sports are to some extent still perceived as the preserve of males or as I illustrate in the poem straight white males. There have been studies carried out in Scotland and the UK which indicate that homophobia and transphobia are still prevalent in certain sporting environments most noticeably football (soccer) which is the most popular spectator sport in the UK and particularly in Scotland where no other game comes close.

      I think part of the problem may be to class related as football was traditionally the game supported by the working class who earned their living in the coalmines, the steel works, and the shipyards and wanted heroes and role models they could identify with. Though the Scottish and UK economies have changed, it is I think fair to say, that traditions and deep rooted attitudes many of which have been ingrained for generations take a wee bit longer.

      The good news however is that we are making progress. There are more women attending football games and the LGBTIQ community are able to be a bit more open than once was the case.

      On transitioning as a women to to friends in a well known Celtic bar I was greeted not with fear or prejudice but with this comment of acceptance We don’t care if you live as a woman as long as you still support the hoops the way you’ve always done. Those simple words of support meant a lot to me and are the reason I’ll always be a Celtic Girl and why after years of procrastination I finally got round to writing this poem.

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Love And Best Wishes
      Gayle XXX

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