Gay Gooners/Islington Gazette | 17074
The Islington Gazette profiles the Gay Gooners, gay supporters of Arsenal football club. They are the biggest LGBT football fans group in the world. There are 500 members, with 40 per cent women. Dave Raval is chairman, and was one of the founding members in 2013.
The Gooners aim to stamp out homophobia in football, provide a safe forum for LGBT people to enjoy Arsenal, and act as a social group.
“The recent question has always been: ‘When is a male player going to come out?’ [Players have come out in women’s football.] But when we started Gay Gooners, our question was: ‘When are the fans going to come out?’
“It’s just as important for LGBT fans to be visible in the game. There are hundreds of us. We don’t accept what some people would call ‘banter.’ We don’t accept a football culture where a male player has yet to come out.”
Gay Gooners was the first LGBT fans group to be recognised by a professional club, as Arsenal did. There are now 30 groups in the UK.