Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, is teaming up with the FA, Pride Sports and Trafford Council, to celebrate LGBT History Month with a special focus on Manchester next week.
On Thursday February 24, football fans from across the area are invited to join a panel of experts and special guests at Sale Waterside Arts Centre to debate the issue of homophobia in the game. Starting at 7pm, the event is free and open to all to attend.
Ex-Manchester City defender Earl Barrett, now working for Kick It Out, will be a key member on the panel. Hailing from the north-west, Earl came through the academy at City before making his name at Oldham Athletic, becoming a Premier League star through the 90’s and appearing three times for England.
He said: “During my playing days, challenging discrimination was mainly focused around racism. When I think back to what players such as Danny Wallace and John Barnes had to experience, things have certainly moved on. A stand was taken, and although the problem is far from eradicated, it is astonishing to see the strides that have been made.
“Nowadays, the scope and scale of challenging prejudiced attitudes has shifted with the footballing landscape, and homophobia has become a particularly prevalent issue.
“There are no openly gay players, homophobic chanting exists, and so we need dig deeper to examine why professional football remains unwelcoming to the openly lesbian, gay and transgender sections of the population.
“We’ll be using this event to raise the debate as to why homophobic abuse still lingers, while also promoting greater tolerance in the game. Coming from the local area, I know that the people of Manchester will turn out in force and add greatly to the discussion.”