- Sophie Howard discusses allyship as part of Football v Homophobia month
- The LCFC Women defender feels speaking out for the LGBTQ+ community will help people to feel more open about their sexuality
- She recently joined men’s first team player James Justin on a Zoom call with the Club’s LGBTQ+ supporter group, Foxes Pride
Discussing the topic as part of the Club’s backing of Football v Homophobia month, Sophie feels supporting the LGBTQ+ community will help more people to be open and comfortable about their sexuality.
The duo found out more about the group and discussed some of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ football supporters.
She said: “It’s massive for the Club to support campaigns such as Football v Homophobia because it not only raises awareness but also helps to educate people.
“The chat we had with Foxes Pride about homophobia in football was really interesting. There were a few things that came up during the call that I had no idea about, and that comes from a lack of knowledge and a lack of education, so I think the more work we can do then the better people’s understanding will become.”
I think a lot of people not only struggle to come out to team-mates but to their parents too, so it’s important to just be there for them and to support them as best as you can.Sophie Howard
Asked what she would do if a fellow team-mate would come out as LGBTQ+, she replied: "The most important thing to do is to not treat anyone any differently. They’re still the same person and the same human being, they just have a different sexual preference, and in my eyes that doesn’t change a person and doesn’t change how I see that person or perceive them.
“Being there for them if they want a chat is the main thing. I think a lot of people not only struggle to come out to team-mates but to their parents too, so it’s important to just be there for them and to support them as best as you can.”
Sophie insists education is key to improving people’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues and that more people should speak up.
She added: “It’s all about education. Personally, I didn’t know how much standing up and speaking out meant to the LGBTQ+ community before I chatted to Foxes Pride.
For me, as helpful as it was for some of the group members to hear from myself and James, it was more helpful for us to understand and learn more, so allyship is massive.Sophie Howard
“I thought previously that simply accepting but being silent about it was enough, but I’ve come to learn that you actually need to speak up.
“This is why the role of an ally is so important and I didn’t realise just how vital it was. For me, as helpful as it was for some of the group members to hear from myself and James, it was more helpful for us to understand and learn more, so allyship is massive.”
Sophie feels social media sites must take more responsibility for online abuse, something she believes could deter LGBTQ+ footballers from coming out.
“As women in a male dominated sport we’re constantly fighting to be accepted, and there is a lot of abuse out there," Sophie said.
“Social media can be dangerous because people can hide behind profiles and nobody knows who you are. For me you should have to get verified to open an account, and something needs to be done because people suffer from it.”
For more information about Foxes Pride, please click HERE.
You can show your support for the LGBTQ+ community with our range of Pride items, available now on LCFC.com/shop.
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