Womens World Cup pride armbands ban slammed by advocates, players

Matildas captain Sam Kerr on the field
Image: LittleBlinky/Flickr

A coalition of former women’s footballers and LGBTIQ rights advocates have published an open letter condemning FIFA’s decision to ban open symbols of solidarity with the LGBTIQ community at the upcoming Women’s World Cup.

“To FIFA and Sponsors of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, we stand with the players,” the open letter, published this week, reads.

“The recent announcement banning the OneLove and other pride armbands is a rejection of the spirit of the Women’s World Cup and the identity of many of the world’s greatest players.

“While every issue featured on FIFA’s preferred armbands is a worthy one, the catch all of ‘inclusion’ simply puts pride back into the closet.

“The players and fans who have built the women’s game, sustaining it over generations, are now being told that their legacies don’t matter. There would be no women’s football without the LGBTIQ+ people who have supported it across the globe.

“In a world of growing anti-LGBTIQ+ sentiment, including laws that penalise who we are, FIFA and every organisation associated with the beautiful game should be taking a stand in favour of human rights, of dignity, and for LGBTIQ+ people.

“The undersigned are calling on FIFA and the 2023 Women’s World Cup sponsors to make their support for LGBTIQ+ people, players, customers, and employees clear. This is the time to stand with us. With pride.”

The open letter has been endorsed by former Matildas player Michelle Heyman, the Professional Footballers Australia association, Pride Cup, Equality Australia, and Stonewall UK.

Former Matildas speak out

Professional Footballers Australia co-chief executive, and former Matilda, Kathryn Gill endorsed the message, saying, “players should have the right to express solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community in a way that is authentic to them, not in a way defined by FIFA.”

“Co-opting armbands clearly convey that FIFA’s stance with the LGBTIQ+ community is on their terms, harming those central to the women’s game by denouncing their identity.”

Former Matilda Michelle Heyman added, “for me, wearing the pride rainbow armband is about being a visible role model.”

“We have so many female footballers who are strong and empowering people and LGBTIQ+ advocates who can use their platform and support the next generation.

“We did it in the A-Leagues – which is representative of football in Australia and New Zealand, so our players should be able to celebrate that when the biggest show comes to town and everyone’s eyes are on football.

“To take that opportunity away, when there are millions of people watching our players, is disappointing.”

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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