Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

Africa: Football - 16 Years After Justin Fashanu Died, Has Anything Changed?

analysis

Justin Fashanu remains the only openly gay male player to have played in Britain. Sixteen years ago he took his own life, hanging himself in an unused garage in Shoreditch. While his sexuality wasn't the sole reason for his suicide, the homophobia that surrounded him almost certainly played a part. Almost two decades later, has much changed?

May 2, 2014 marks 16 years since Justin Fashanu's life met a tragic end. The first million-pound black footballer - and the first openly gay footballer - to play in Britain took his life over a decade ago.

To this day, he remains the only male player to have come out in the UK. His death, like the sharp fall of his career, was tragic. In his suicide note, he mentioned how alone he felt, and that's a sentiment echoed by many, even in a more modern society.

Visit almost any football ground in Britain and you are likely to hear the word "faggot" hurled as abuse at least once. But for football fans to begin to understand why using "faggot" as an insult, implying that homosexuality is wrong, is unacceptable, is very far way away. Insults and chants are ...

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