Fight against homophobia: end of a symbol or inevitable commitment?  Embroglio around a rainbow t-shirt

Therefore, the League decided. Four years after their launch, the rainbow-colored t-shirts will no longer be part of the day to fight homophobia organized by the LFP on May 17 and 18. Given the controversies raised by the operation in recent years and the more or less supposed refusal of several players to wear the shirt in question, the League is launching a new system. From now on, the shirts will be adorned with two insignia: the first on a black background with homophobia crossed out in red and the second with the competition logo in the colors of the LGBTQ+ community.

Today, with the rainbow shield, it is the entire competition that carries the message and not just one player with his numberthey tell us in the LFP, the only professional league that campaigns against homophobia. To increase visibility, we will have protocol elements in the colors of the operation and also flags from the corners of the rainbow.“Enough? Not for some associations that defend LGBTQ+ rights. Two of them have decided to no longer be associated with the operation.


Kylian Mbappé’s rainbow shirt: the LFP takes the lead in the fight against homophobia.

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The impression of agreeing with those who refused to wear it last year

This disappearance of the rainbow flock represents a setback as colossal as its introduction had been perceived as a great advance, unique in the world.Bertrand Lambert, president of PanamBoyz & Girlz United, tells us. We must persevere, explain and endure, because this fight is fair. By reversing the rainbow jersey, we seem to agree with those who refused to wear it last year.

Here is the crux of the problem: the resistance encountered in recent years, the refusal of some players to wear the rainbow jersey and the extensive controversies that accompanied the operation. In 2022, Idrissa Gueye boycotts the championship matchday, does not play the match and his club, PSG, lets him go. In 2023, in Toulouse, Nantes and even Guingamp, five players refuse to wear the shirt and, like every year, many more do not accept their choice and are called pale on the occasion of the match.

Eric Roy regrets the moment “catastrophic“of the operation at the end of the season. How can we advance the cause without being a thief?”Many players have told us : “I don’t understand why we defend one community and not another,” says Paul Royer, who represents the UNFP and, therefore, the actors in this project. The first discrimination that players suffer is racism and there was no t-shirt against racism. The players didn’t understand.“This season, the LFP has therefore combined the fight against racism (March 29 and 30) with the fight against homophobia.


During matchday 35 of Ligue 1 in 2023, players were invited to wear rainbow-colored flocking on their shirts.

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What should be done? Impose the shirt and close your mouth?

We campaigned to preserve the rainbowcontinues Paul Royer. But players should not be the only ones to wear this symbol and the system needed to be enriched. And then in recent years some clubs have lacked match day teaching. For footballers, social commitment is not a fact, it is not the core of their work. They must understand.“Precisely to make itself understood, the LFP has organized 74 awareness-raising workshops since 2021. Led by Yoann Lemaire, president of the Foot Ensemble Foundation, they are stirring up some unrest around operation rainbow jersey.

If the LFP decided to stop it is because they were asked to do soYoann Lemaire tells us. We pushed for this shirt. We were so happy. But I went to the training centers. Young people are very tough, some make Idrissa Gueye a star who knew how to say shit to the system. The argument that always came up: “We don’t want to support gay pride.” We underestimate the problem. I felt a change when I told them we wouldn’t be making the rainbow anymore. What should be done? Impose the shirt and close your mouth? You have to know how to listen. We had never asked the opinion of players and clubs. Otherwise, there was a risk of getting worse and worse. Yes, your heart hurts, but sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.


Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players are invited to wear a rainbow jersey on matchday 35.

Credit: Getty Images

The end of a symbol?

So compromise or compromise? Symbolically, the rainbow part is now kept to a minimum on t-shirts with a simple badge. “Obviously there is a form of regression and that is why we do not want to be associated with this 2024 campaign.note Yves Gimbert (SOS Homophobie). We disagree on a central point: the symbolic power of certain demonstrations. It’s like when we included abortion in the Constitution. It is incredibly powerful but there are different interpretations.

The controversies have not made the cause growLemaire continues. If we can avoid the news three months before the Olympics… Now, if the players still refuse to wear the shirt with the crest, that will pose a much bigger problem than last year.“Reply in a few weeks.

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