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An information request

Okay, I don’t know what I am talking about here, insert your own jokes.  Not a promising start to a post I grant you.  I am hoping fellow kitty counters can give me their opinion/knowledge.  Two things today got me thinking about this.

First, ‘er indoors took the boy to see our local pantomime recently.  Yesterday she spied one of the cast in town.  She was waxing lyrical about how gorgeous the young man was and seemed oblivious to the fact he makes Peter Mandelson look heterosexual.  This surprised me not at all.  Gay people are well represented in the performing arts and gay bloke on stage is really, really ‘dog bites man’ stuff.

Second, some footballer or other was banging on today about the need for premiership footballers to come out as gay, a la Gareth Thomas* in rugby.  That said, I have never knowingly met any gay footballers and I have played for a few teams over the years at a really, really crap level.

So without wishing to sound like the Iranian President (no gays here guv, etc), and don’t name any for reasons of possible libel, but are there any gay footballers in the Premiership?  Logic says there must be and yet, I cannot think of a single candidate (I exclude the entire Swansea squad from consideration because being a Cardiff fan I can’t think remotely rationally about them).  If you must, name the team and no more.

Can it be that straight men are attracted to football and gays to the theatre?  Surely not, that has to be bollocks right?

* this was widely known back home in Wales but when I told a ‘rugby lad’ in 2008 that Alfie did indeed stroll the Bourneville boulevard, it was like his entire belief system collapsed and he simply could not accept it.

17 Comments

  1. I’ve met people from gay football and rugby teams in London. There is I believe even a gay sunday football league.

    Some people are as camp as a row of tents and are surprisingly hetrosexual whereas I’ve met strapping blokes built like brick shithouses who as you say ‘strolled along the bournville boulevard’.

    I’ve often found that sexuality doesn’t always match up to the external appearance or image.

  2. SadButMadLad says:

    Well that just highlights the whole point about sexuality. No one can tell just from looking at another person what their sexual tastes are. It is made easier at the moment because gays and lesbians like to wear a “uniform” to identify themselves to their likeminded brethern, but if it wasn’t for that there would be no way to tell. And that’s how it should be. There are gays in football. Stats and maths says that there should be a few even if we go by the conservative percentage of 1-5% and not the figure banded about by gays of 10%. But should they be outed? No. There is no point in highlighting that gays are happy playing football to encourage more gays to come out. Our society has got past that. There is no need anymore to out anyone. Now, more than ever, is the time to foget about sexuality. It’s not an issue anymore.

  3. Mr Ed says:

    Methodological individualism and an awareness that statistics record and do not predict may help here. Whatever the dstribution of ‘homosexuals’ in the population, and whatever ‘mechanisms’ there might be involved in determining sexual orientation(s), it is no one’s business whether anyone is ‘gay’ or ‘straight’, and no one is entitled to politicise a matter as trivial yet as vital as football. As Michael Wharton (Peter Simple) remarked early on under the Blair terror, noticing the politicisation of the Royal Parks, ‘Is there to be no escape?’.

    The agitprop expands into all areas of life, but some of us regard such matters as, at best, irrelevant and at worst, a sign that some care naught for freedom.

    From a biologist’s point of view, if you dislike homosexuals, relax, it reduces the competition for mates. From the libertarian pov, it’s none of your busiiness if X is homosexual, and you have no right to interfere in another’s choices.

    Is there any ‘class’ distinction in sexual orientation distribution? That’ll put the marxoids in a tizzy, what did Karl say?

  4. Simon Jester says:

    Justin Fashanu was openly gay – his wikipedia page says he was the first and only English professional footballer to be openly homosexual:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Fashanu

    I assume there have got to be others.

  5. RAB says:

    A quick Google pulls up the number of 12 plus… But not the names, and coming out or staying in, is entirely up to them. All I care about in a footballer is if they can score or save goals. But given the vicious racism that still exists in football still, they’d be mad to come out just yet, if they want to keep their big houses in Cheshire with the pool and home cinema, wags and in Rooney’s case Hot Grannies.

    Football is a very tribal thing, SAoT humourously alluded to it in his original piece, viz Swansea. Fortunately Cardiff City were crap throughout my youth, so I never developed that tribal affiliation and became a Rugger Bugger instead. Oooh er misses!

  6. Lynne says:

    Actually I thought they were all a bunch of girls since they go around acting like they’ve got the painters in…

    As for Justin Fashanu – the shoddy way he was treated, even by his own family, perhaps explains why gay footballers remain firmly in the closet. I can’t blame them for that.

  7. John Galt says:

    Speaking as a member of Team Pink (closeted), I’ve always rubbished the idea that 10% of the male population was gay as being utter rubbish. They are certainly over-represented in certain professions (entertainment, the medja, etc.) and this may account for some of the distortion. I’ve not done a statistical analysis and it’s hard to confirm, but from my perspective I would put even SBML’s 1%-5% as too high and suggest that 1%-2% of men in the UK have sex exclusively with other men. Can’t speak for lesbian representation.

    Equally, the work undertaken by men also has an effect on how ‘out’ they are. In environments where there is a high proportion of women and robust enforcement of equality policies (primarily office environments) then there tends to be a much greater tolerance of gay men and therefore the number of ‘out’ gay men there are.

    In professions that are primarily or exclusively male (coal mining, building trade, fire service, armed forces, football, etc.) despite professed and legally enforced ‘tolerance’, the cultures struggle hard enough with women members, let alone gay men. It would be a very brave man that comes out in such a circumstance. Gay men working in those environments caught “in flagrante delicto” used to be shunned outright, but even now can face significant prejudice while working.

    In professional environments where shared shower facilities are the norm and men are both naked and therefore feel more vulnerable, this appears to be where the worst excesses against gay men can take place.

    Add in the testosterone and violence of football and this is a heavy mixture and I would suggest that it is this combination of factors which leads to it having probably the lowest representation of out gay men of any profession.

    Given the lack of substantive statistical evidence, much of the above is obviously subjective, but to the best of my knowledge and belief reflects the reality of the situation.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/official-statistics-reveal-uk-gay-lesbian-and-bisexual-population-2087829.html

  8. John Galt says:

    I just wanted to clarify something about my earlier posting. When I say that I believe the representation of gay men in the UK population was around 1%-2% I am referring to those who primarily or exclusively have sex with men.

    As we go through puberty we may at some time or other experiment sexually with other men. This may be as meaningless as a drunken kiss or as meaningful as Michael Portillo’s ‘homosexual experiences as a young man’. I would classify all of the above as sexual experimentation and none of which makes a man gay or even bisexual.

    I think it is this misunderstanding of the realities of ‘sexual experimentation’ which gives rise to the don’t know / not sure of the hidden 3%-10%.

    I also personally believe that liberal bias in both the medja, local and national government are distorting what statistics they have as they see placing positive spin on all gay issues as part of their core agenda.

  9. Tim Newman says:

    In professions that are primarily or exclusively male (coal mining, building trade, fire service, armed forces, football, etc.) despite professed and legally enforced ‘tolerance’, the cultures struggle hard enough with women members, let alone gay men.

    A few of my friends are officers in the Royal Marines, and of them told me there is an openly gay officer serving with them (I don’t know him personally). He’s not “open” in the sense he is shouting it from the rooftops, but nor is he closeted that he denies it and worries he will be outed. From what I could gather, his sexuality causes a few raised eyebrows along the lines of “Oh, really?” when people first hear about it, but otherwise is allowed to get on with his job. At least, that’s the reaction from his fellow officers (who are all pretty tolerant chaps, I find). I don’t know what the opinion of the men under his command is, but I’m guessing if he is competent enough to bring them back from Afghanistan with all limbs intact, they’ll forgive him anything. But it is noteworthy that he’s an officer, I’m not sure it would be possible to be gay amongst the ranks.

    In my industry, the offshore oil and gas business, I’ve known a few gay chaps. One I was friends with for a while, but his politics annoyed me (“Murdoch should be banned because he is poisoning the public, and I know what’s best for everybody”) but his experience is worth noting. He never actually admitted being gay to his workmates (he finally confessed to me when we met in Thailand – we both own apartments in Patong, coincidentally I will add), but he just never brought the subject up. Of course, everybody knew or strongly suspected, mainly because he lived for 6 years in Russia and never once had a girfriend. Anyone who manages this is doing so out of choice, even the Elephant Man could pick up a woman on Sakhalin Island. So in short, everyone knew, but nobody mentioned it, and I never heard anything said against him. When the topic came up among the offshore workers (the expats anyway, the Russians would likely have been less tolerant), they just shrugged their shoulders in an “it’s up to him” manner. One thing I will say about the expatriates in the global oil business, we’re generally a tolerant lot, far more than would be expected when you look at other similar industries. Most people adopt an “Meh, each to their own” attitude to other people, and instead tend to slag them off mercilessly on work related issues. It’s actually quite a pleasant place to work.

  10. John Galt says:

    @Tim:

    I agree. I work in downstream Oil, Gas & Power.

  11. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Wikipedia is interesting by omission in this regard. Click on any moderately high profile football player and there will be a section on personal life. Entirely predictable stuff along the lines of ‘knocked-up tit model, dumped her, knocked-up another one, caught committing adultery/with hookers in tabloids, blah, blah’

    But one or two very high profile players don’t have anything up under ‘personal life’

    Now consider anyone can edit these things and work it out. This isn’t certain and arguably not enough to protect you from a libel case, but its prima facie.

  12. NickM says:

    The appalling treatment of Justin Fashanu (actually especially by his family – his brother issued vaguely concealed death-threats) means I don’t speculate.

    As to the actual numbers – more broadly – God knows. As JG hints with his “primarily or exclusively” this is a bit of a “definition thing”. I suspect getting a definitive figure is almost certainly impossible because sexuality is such a complex thing. Certainly things change dramatically over time and between cultures. It is a right bugger’s muddle and as far as I am concerned not really particularly interesting or useful.

    Anyway, I really don’t want to contemplate anything even vaguely related to football after yesterday’s result. :-(

  13. Tim Newman says:

    Oh, and Ian Roberts was the first professional rugby player (league) to come out as being gay. For all the raging homophobia in parts of Australia, nobody seems to give a stuff: he was a good player. And one seriously hard bastard.

  14. NickM says:

    Tim,
    That’s Rugby League. They are seriously hard bastards. Not like the prima donnas who play association football. What I wouldn’t do for GBP250,000 a week doesn’t bear thinking about!

  15. Graeme says:

    Just read Brian Sewell’s memoirs. In volume 1, he describes how he and a.n.other were buggered by NCOs while doing National Service in the 50s. In vol 2, he describes how he was picked up by an RSM in Kensington, brought back to barracks and buggered all night long and then turned over to the RSM’s mates as “a bloody good fuck”. These guys might not qualify as homosexual under a strict definition but they certainly seemed to like a bit of same-sex sodomy!

  16. Teddy says:

    What’s the point of this post? That you’re unable to spot who is gay in a field where any gay people are obviously going to hide their sexuality?

  17. John Galt says:

    @Teddy:

    Going back to the OP’s questions:

    1. “Are there any gay footballers in the Premiership? Logic says there must be and yet, I cannot think of a single candidate”

    General view is there probably are, but they are still closeted as Premiership football is not an environment conducive to “coming out”.

    2. “Can it be that straight men are attracted to football and gays to the theatre?”

    General view is that because theatre is a more supportive atmosphere for gays then there are lots more gays there. In addition, greater concentration of pretty gay men means a greater likelihood of sex with pretty gay men.

    2.

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