Launched in memory of former United striker Justin Fashanu, the world’s first and only openly gay professional footballer, the Justin Campaign reaches its second birthday today.
For all his talent, Justin Fashanu is chiefly remembered for being the world’s first openly gay professional footballer and for committing suicide.
Whilst the long decline of the powerful centre-forward was not caused solely by his homosexuality, there is no doubt that the pressures and prejudices Justin experienced as a gay black man in the harsh world of professional football contributed significantly to his downfall.
In 2011, prejudice and discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans is against the law and will not be tolerated. As a consequence, any hate crime or hate incident against any person who is perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans should be reported to the police.
A hate incident is: ‘any incident, which may or may not amount to a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other persons as being motivated by prejudice or hate’.
A hate incident becomes a hate crime once an offence is committed. This could include things like chanting, verbal abuse, bullying and harassment, spitting and physical attacks, name-calling, damage to property, graffiti and written notes, e-mails and text messages.
If you are victim of or witness to a hate incident or hate crime at Plainmoor, please report details to the nearest available steward.
We are in the 21st century and there is simply no place for homophobia in any walk of life, including football.
Justin Fashanu will always be a United hero.