Controversial footballer opens Stockholm Pride

Former Liverpool and Sweden footballer Glenn Hysén opened Stockholm Pride this week with a speech denouncing homophobia in sport.

“Sometimes, sport turns us into good team players, but sometimes sport turns us into anxious homophobic herd animals,” he said, according to

“Too few of us who love sport bother to question sport’s values. This is why we adults within sport have a particular responsibility to bring up all girls and boys in a liberal and unprejudiced climate.”

Hysén was widely decried as a bad choice for Stockholm Pride, after he infamously punched a man who allegedly propositioned him in a Frankfurt Airport toilet in 2001.

“In order to finally flush the Frankfurt Airport punch down the toilet, it is not the case that I beat up a gay person. I categorically deny that.

“I’m not proud that I took a swing at him, but I am proud that I have integrity and that I reacted,” he said.

“I know that many LGBT people have been the victims of assaults and hate crimes.

“I can therefore understand if some people have been upset by the airport incident, so I want to be clear.

“I think that it is completely unacceptable that anybody should be subjected to assaults, insults or hate crimes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Hysén.

Stockholm Pride is being hosted by Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.

She said that the fact that same-sex couples financial and legal rights were set apart from those of opposite-sex couples was wrong.

“It is time to merge the marriage laws and the law on registered partnership into one set of cohabitation laws. Homosexuals naturally have the same need for security, both financial and legal,” she said.

Stockholm Pride is the largest such event in the Nordic region.

It is being celebrated with a sports theme this year, to question homophobia and transphobia within the world of sport.

Famous for the colours of the rainbow that grace the city each year at this time, Stockholm is a famously welcoming place for all LGBT people.

Stockholm Pride started on July 30, and runs until August 5.

Yesterday the Swedish Lutheran Church announced that it will march in tomorrow’s parade for the first time.