Gay Male Football Fans’ Experiences: Authenticity, Belonging and Conditional Acceptance

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The relationship between English football and homosexuality has changed significantly in recent years. However, research examining this area of study has predominantly focused on the attitudes of ostensibly heterosexual men. By drawing on semi-structured interviews with 35 ‘out’ gay male fans, this article is the first to focus explicitly on LGBT fans’ sense of place in English football. Contrary to previous research, these gay male fans represent ‘authentic’ notions of fandom through their passion for football and respective clubs. The recent emergence of LGBT Fan Groups has provided sexual minority fans increased visibility, and a sense of belonging and community. Finally, despite ongoing concerns about football stadia’s hypermasculine and heteronormative environment, these fans believe that they have become an increasingly inclusive space. Accordingly, this article demonstrates that sexual minority fans are central to English football and argues that future research must acknowledge their increased prevalence.




Magrath, R. (2021). Gay Male Football Fans’ Experiences: Authenticity, Belonging and Conditional Acceptance. Sociology, 55(5), 978–994.

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