German players agreed to offer support to their LGBTQIA+ colleagues and to take a stand against homophobia in sport. The initiative is from the 11Freunde soccer magazine (11 friends), and players hold signs with the words “Ihr könnt auf uns zählen!” (“You can count on us!”). The information is from the DW channel.
Among the stars supporting the campaign are Bundesliga players Max Kruse and Christopher Trimmel, from Union Berlin, as well as Dedryck Boyata and Niklas Stark, from Hertha Berlin. Sebastian Ohlsson of St. Pauli, who plays in the second division, and goalkeeper Almuth Schult of Wolfsburg, also participate.
— 11Freunde (@11Freunde_Red) February 17, 2021
More than 800 German players participated in the campaign. The objective, according to the organizers, is not to force anyone to “come out of the closet”, but to offer support and create an environment of greater acceptance.
“Even in 2021, there are still no openly homosexual players in professional men’s soccer”, says a statement shared by the captain of the women’s national team, Alexandra Popp, and by the chief executive of Borussia Dortmund, Hans-Joachim Watzke, among others.
“The fear of being attacked, excluded or having their career damaged is still so great that gay players still believe they need to hide their sexuality. We want to support, encourage and, if necessary, defend them against attacks, because you would be doing the right thing. We are on your side”, completes the text.
According to DW, fans in Germany remain predominantly male and heterosexual, but there is already a change in the culture of the stands. Songs, screams and prejudiced comments are slowly being questioned. Some St. Paul fans are known for their anti-homophobic stances, chanting with messages like “Love whoever you want” and “All colors are beautiful”.
Some 800 footballers in Germany have rallied in support of homosexual footballers and encouraged them to come out.
– Christoph Kramer
– Dedryck Boyata
– Niklas Stark
– Max Kruse
– Christopher Trimmel
– Jonas Hector
– Bakery Jatta
– Almuth Schult
– Alexandra Popp pic.twitter.com/gnMN1bcqnP
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) February 17, 2021
After the launch of the 11Freunde campaign, sports fans and journalists began to share images with the message “You can count on us”.
“I can understand anyone who prefers not to face it”, said Union Berlin striker Max Kruse. “But if one of my teammates came out, I would protect him from the idiots out there”.
Germany’s male soccer does not yet have any openly gay players. The female has a lesbian couple: Anna Blässe and Lara Dickenmann.