#LaLigaArcoIris: Rainbow Shoelaces Against Homophobia Favorite 

Date: 

Feb 21 2015

Location: 

Spain

Spanish soccer has witnessed and engaged in a variety of conversations in the last few years: Racism, politics, xenophobia, territorial issues, corruption, inmigration. However, there is an issue that remains untouched, and this issue is homophobia. Soccer is still a context where it is acceptable to use the word "marica" ("queer") in a pejorative way. Sometimes to imply that certain physical and phsychological treats commonly associated with masculinity are needed to play soccer ("el fútbol no es para maricas"-"Soccer is not for queers"), and sometimes with the intention to insult and upset players from rival teams ("[insert soccer player], marica!"), homophobia is still mostly unpunished in spanish soccer.

This constitutes a problem for many reasons. One of them is that it doesn't allow players to speak freely and openly about their sexualities, something that can have terrible consequences, as we learned from the suicide of Justin Fashanu in 1998. Another one of them is that, by omission, it enables homophobe aggressions by violent groups of soccer fans. And, of course, it contributes to perpetuate heteronormativity as a larger social and cultural frame.

For all of these reasons, the Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Transexuales y Bisexuales – FELGTB (State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals and Bisexuals) has launched a campaign to involve soccer teams in their fight against homophobia. This campaign is called #LaLigaArcoIris ("#TheRainbowLeague"), and it will urge teams and players to wear rainbow shoelaces to show their support of diversity in the 24th League Day (February 21st and 22nd, 2015).

Teams like Rayo Vallecano -known for their implication in many political and social issues-, Deportivo Leganés, Racing de Santander, Cádiz Club de Fútbol, Club Deportivo Guadalajara or Unión Balompédica Conquense, and individual players like Saúl, Raúl Jiménez (both from Atlético de Madrid Club de Fútbol) and Jona (gatekeeper from Getafe Club de Fútbol) have already publicly announced that they will adhere to the campaign.

However, Spanish sports institutions have not been as enthusiastic. The Liga de Fútbol Profesional (Professional Fútbol League) has expressed its support to the FELGTB but refuses to partake in any kind of action, and the Consejo Superior de Deportes (Sports Superior Council) has not even met the organization in any kind of official reunion.

Posted by Rebeca Herrero on