Can Phuti Lekoloane make a change in South Africa’s football world?
Last year, we introduced you to Phuti Lekoloane, South Africa’s first openly gay male athlete. At the time, the goalie shared the belief that his career had been wrongly affected by his coming out.
“The stereotypes that people have around gay people in football is that gay people are sissies, they are soft, they are not manly,” he said. “And the other thing is the question of the changing room. What happens in the changing room.”
He also noted how he has faced discrimination within the sport.
“I was playing in Jo’burg, in the ABC league in Gauteng, and we lost a game and a player said to the whole team, ‘We only lost this game because we have a sissy in the team.’ And that didn’t sit well with me. I cried on that day, but I had to move on because I’m a professional.”
But now, the athlete is trying to bring about change to the sport within his country. According to Mamba Online, Lekoloane has created the first LGBTQ Legacy Games at the Mayibuye Sports Ground in Midrand. The event will take place between March 21 and 29, 2020. It will see men’s and women’s teams made up of LGBTQ players and their allies competing in 18 matches. The winning teams will win R18,000 (approximately $1,205.05).
“The event is all about ensuring that we bring awareness about the existence of LGBTIQ football athletes and fans,” Lekoloane told Mamba’s Luiz DeBarros. “I would also like to ensure that the community at large understands, appreciates and accepts LGBTIQ people and to minimise the victimisation of gays and lesbians.”
Lekoloane also said that he’s eager to create a safe way for LGTBQ people to engage in sport and healthy living. He emphasized the point that no alcohol will be served, sold, or consumed while at the event.
“We have nothing to celebrate as South African LGBTIQ athletes,” Lekoloane declared. “We as LGBTIQ South Africans are not visible, except at events that promote the consumption of alcohol.”
We hope Phuti Lekoloane’s event succeeds and paves the way for more events in the future.
Source: Mamba Online,