Arsenal LGBTQ+ supporters group say transgender supporters don’t feel comfortable going to games as themselves

The LGBTQ+ Arsenal supporters group, The Gaygooners, have said transgender supporters do not feel comfortable enough to go to games as themselves.

The group has called on supporters to think before they chant, noting the challenging environment for anybody trans or non-binary who attends a football match.

Hate crimes against transgender people hit a record high in England and Wales, rising 11% to March 2023 according to the Home Office.

Carl Fearn, co-chair of the Arsenal Gaygooners said: “It’s incredibly sad, it’s a reflection of society as well and football just amplifies it.

“Some of the toxic debate from the extremes of the debate makes a lot of people feel very uncomfortable.

“We do what we can but for those people but in general just going through life can be difficult pretty much every single day.”

Fearn’s comments came after member clubs of the Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN), the world’s only dedicated LGBTQ+ football league, spoke out against the alleged anti-trans rhetoric in politics.

Fearn noted how homophobia and transphobia is still heard in football stadiums, with incidents sometimes being reported to the police.

He said: “After a home game last season some of the away fans saw one of our trans members and started shouting ‘Are you a man or are you a woman?’” 

Fearn raised this with the head of the away club’s LGBTQ+ supporters group who was horrified at the abuse directed at the transgender supporter outside the ground.

Fearn noted that despite these incidents, transphobic incidents remain rare, noting that homophobia is a much more prevalent problem in football.

He said: “Most of the abuse that we come across is what I would call classic homophobic abuse. 

“It’s probably lurking at nearly every game.

“It’s disappointing when you hear it despite everything the Gaygooners and Arsenal have done in the last ten years as a group to try and stamp this out and retire the chants.”

The Gaygooners continue to work with Arsenal Football Club as they aim to create a safe and inclusive environment for all supporters of the club to enjoy.

Image credit: Gaygooners

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