Footballers to mark day against homophobia

The organisers of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in the UK have spoken of their excitement at the many events being held across the country.

May 17th is IDAHO, and this year it will be marked in more than 50 countries.

IDAHO day coincides with Cup Final Day and so far two events have been arranged to highlight this.

Jason Hall, a player with Brighton Bandits FC, has arranged an exhibition about Justin Fashanu’s life and death.

“It will provide an opportunity for people to question us about being gay, playing football and moving towards a situation where sportspeople can be open about their sexuality without the kind of fear that killed Justin Fashanu,” he said.

Fashanu committed suicide in 1998 after becoming the only professional footballer to have come out.

In Sheffield there will be a rally with speeches and a minute’s noise against homophobia.

Organisers are hopeful they will be joined by local soccer players and supporters to urge that homophobia is kicked out of football.

IDAHO-UK campaigners are busily preparing, with the aid of winning posters designed by students at the University of Arts, London, for other events and campaigns.

In Woking, Quake Nightclub and Surrey Police are sponsoring an event expected to be attended by 500.

The London Hotel in Southampton, in conjunction with Southampton City Council and the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Police, is sponsoring an evening of entertainment, with donations on the door going to local victim support.

In Dorset staff from the Over the Rainbow LGBT centre working closely with local police will be trying to persuade the public that “Homophobia Sucks” by giving out lollypops with this message in Bournemouth Town Centre.

The Intercom Trust have launched an IDAHO Picnic and Anti-Homophobia Cake Competition and will be arranging picnics in Exeter and elsewhere in the South West to celebrate positive achievements in counteracting homophobia and reflecting on what still needs to be done at home and abroad.

Scotland will also host an array of IDAHO events, including an IDAHO Youth Activism Event and a Playwrights Theatre Performance on IDAHO day itself.

Glasgow Council are the first council to announce that they will be raising the rainbow flag for IDAHO day. It is hoped that, as was the case last year, many councils will follow their example.

For details of events and posters, and contact information click here.