Brighton Pride: giant inflatable footballer highlights lack of LGBT players

A giant inflatable footballer took part in Brighton’s Pride parade on Saturday (August 3) to draw attention to the fact there are currently no out gay or bisexual footballers in the Premier League.

The gigantic balloon flew over Brighton as tens of thousands of visitors joined in the city’s annual Pride festival.

Taller than a two-storey house at seven metres tall, the inflatable is the biggest to ever take part in a pride parade. It took two hours to inflate and used enough helium to inflate 7,000 regular size balloons.

Graeme Souness, the retired Scottish footballer who captained Liverpool in the 1980s and later played for and managed the Rangers, walked under the balloon with footballers from Proud United.

Footballers should be able to come out, says Souness

Proud United is a team made up of LGBT+ footballers from across the UK.

Speaking at Pride, Souness said, “Society has made such giant strides generally in terms of LGBTQ, that as football people we’ve got to ask why does the issue of homophobia persist within our community and the professional game and challenge that.”

“I’m here today as an ally and to bring attention to members of the LGBT community in the amateur game who are leading the charge in that conversation,” he said.

The inflatable was in the parade in association with Paddy Power’s campaign, Come Out And Play, which is now in its second year.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power said, “Back in the late 1980’s Graeme Souness was at the height of his Rangers revolution and ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, by Kylie Minogue was No.1 in the charts.

“Now for the first time ever, those two powerful forces – a singer from Down Under, and a one-time underdog – are both at Brighton Pride to celebrate and support the LGBTQ community in their own respective way.

“Thankfully Souness isn’t the one sporting the gold hotpants!”