Brighton Supporters' Homophobically Abused in Most Games

A survey into homophobic abuse aimed at Brighton and Hove Albion fans reveals that they are abused at most of their matches. During the 2012-2013 season, homophobic incidents were recorded in over 70% of Brighton’s away matches and nearly 60% of the side’s games. Examples ranged from mild abuse e.g. “We can see you holding hands” to foul mouthed chants and remarks and implications of paedophilia. In one particularly distasteful incident a father with his son was asked if he “passed him around”.
The ‘Report into Homophobic Abuse at Brighton and Hove Albion (BHA) Games (March 2013) – carried out by Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters’ Club (BAHSC) and The Gay Football Supporters’ network (GSFN) also recorded a homophobic physical attack on two fans by Blackburn Rovers fans on January the 22nd and homophobic gestures being made to BHA fans by Blackburn player Colin Kazim-Richards on the 12th of February, which was reported to the police.
Responses to complaints varied. Millwall and Swindon Town took the homophobia seriously and pledged to deal with it while Leicester City dismissed comments made by their fans as banter. After a Hull City Player was seen to  rub “his hands up and down several times over his backside whilst standing in front of, but with his back to, Brighton fans” at a match on the 18th of August, management defended the player and said he had done nothing wrong.
Chris Basiurski, GFSN Chair commented: “We hope this Report will demonstrate clearly the level and nature of homophobic abuse that is so frequently targeted at Brighton supporters and as this Report shows, they are on football’s front line in the ongoing fight against homophobia. For us the issue is really simple.We firmly believe that the levels of abuse demonstrated in this Report would not be tolerated if the abuse was of a racial nature and nor should it be tolerated here. We reject as false any suggestion that these chants amount to banter in the same way that “banter” relating to a person’s skin colour is unacceptable. Nobody should be subject to ridicule over their actual or perceived sexual orientation and we are horrified that it has been tolerated, excused and ignored in relation to Brighton supporters for so long.It needs to stop.”
Sarah Watts, BHASC Secretary also made the analogy with racism, adding: “We would like our fans to be able to go to games with kids or their grandparents and not hear much of the stuff we are subjected to; it’s our basic human right.Our campaigning with the help of the Football Supporters’ Federation has led to “homophobic abuse” being included in the list of unacceptable behaviour in ground regulations; yet many clubs, their stewards and their fans do not seem to know what constitutes“homophobic abuse”. We have had and continue to have good support from both Brighton & Hove Albion and Sussex Police, who are actively helping us to stamp this abuse out. More recently the FA & GFSN have started to work with us as well and we hope to strengthen these partnerships.We hope that this report will increase public awareness and help educate our fellow members of the football family of the issues faced, to address them and, ultimately the need to treat each other with basic respect.”
Although LGBT History Month has a copy of the Report, we have chosen not to provide a link to it as it catalogues example of homophobic abuse. These include word and phrases unsuitable for a family-friendly website and – in the wrong hands – could constitute a lesson in how to be a homophobe.