Tuesday sees the launch of Let’s Talk, the first of a regular series of lunchtime discussions.
You don’t have to know all the answers but listening to other contributions allows you to say “I may not know, but I can learn”.
The discussions, about a specific topic, are held in an informal atmosphere, hosted by a colleague with a passion for the subject. They’re designed to be thought-provoking and may not even provide all the answers but should stimulate a constructive conversation. The objective is that everyone goes away from the discussion having learned something.
Subjects for discussion are designed to be topical -which is why the first session is this:
How football can be a power for good in the LGBT+ community
The World Cup in Qatar has raised the issue of that country’s laws against homosexuality and treatment of LGBTQ+ citizens, tourists and detainees. How far could football go to speak out against the Qatari regime?
Is football culture still inherently homophobic? Currently there is only one openly LGBTQ+ player in the English professional leagues, Blackpool’s Jake Daniels. There are still frequent instances of homophobic abuse from fans, at the ground and on social media.
In recent years, football has worked to counter homophobia, using awareness-raising initiatives such as the rainbow laces weekends and the ‘One Love’ armband. Is this too little – or worse, simply lip service? Or, as this week’s German football team photo suggests, is there more that footballers want to do but are being denied the opportunity?
Is it fair to single out Qatar? There are currently 72 countries (about a third of all countries) who still criminalise homosexuality, according to a recent report. Should all sporting bodies award international tournaments to countries who have laws against homosexuality, particularly those who enforce conversion therapy or the death penalty?
Or is it simply a matter of football showing more bravery in providing LGBTQ+ support? The Iran football team’s refusal to sing their national anthem in protest at the Iranian regime’s brutal suppression of women protestors shows that the threat of merely a yellow card for wearing a particular armband is a privilege that pales against the price of allyship elsewhere.
The session will be held next Tuesday 29 November between 12.30 and 1.30pm in the Collaboration Space in [Redacted].
All are welcome and there’s no need to book – just turn up. Please note, if the room does reach capacity, we may have to, in line with fire regulations and people’s comfort, turn later arrivals away. As it’s lunchtime, all are welcome to bring their lunch with them.
We can also confirm that “sweet treats” will be provided. At this stage, we can’t confirm if that means parma violets or a Toblerone – you’ll have to attend to find out!
If you have a suggestion for a topic or theme for a follow up Let’s Talk, then please email your suggestion to [Redacted]