Life Lust, guilt and double standards - a gay guide to sport By Gareth Johnson | @GTVlondon Photo © www.flickr.com/insouciance Sport is sexy? Whenever I fancy a bit of ‘me time’, which is fairly often these days, the search terms that my greasy fingers are usually punching into my laptop are something like ‘tumblr gay porn sport’ –job done. I find it a total turn on watching porn that features guys in sports gear, wrestling, or even just some suggestive photos of famous sports guys wearing as little as possible.It’s pretty clear that I’m not alone in this – when you look at the coverage of the recent World Cup by the gay press and media outlets, it seems that there is an enormous appetite for endless features on: “The hottest football stars”, “Brazil’s sexiest players”, or “Ronaldo nearly naked”. Of course this type of coverage isn’t just limited to football – with the increasingly saturated media coverage of all sports and sports stars, there seems to be an endless supply of photos of tennis players with their shirts off, rowers revealing their bodies in tight lycra, and close-ups of divers from every angle – trust me, I am an avid reader of all of these and any sports-related steaminess. Not that there’s anything wrong with this – anything that can fuel your sexual fantasies is worth exploring, right? The slight dilemma that I have is that I’ve spent quite a bit of energy campaigning against homophobia in sport. I think it’s really important for professional athletes that are gay to be open about their sexuality – gay athletes can be incredibly powerful role models for young people around the world. One of the arguments that we used to hear quite a bit, and were quick to shout down as being utterly ludicrous, was that having a gay teammate would make straight guys uncomfortable in the dressing room – that they would feel they might be looked at in a sexual way, objectified. Ridiculous. Where would they ever get that idea from? Thankfully, the world of professional sport does seem to have made quite a bit of progress recently, making public commitments about sport being a safe place for sexual diversity and actively campaigning against homophobia. I can’t help wondering though if we as gay men aren’t somehow subconsciously shooting ourselves in the foot, that we’re perhaps indulging in one of our favourite pasttimes – self-sabotage. I am not saying that we should all be prudes when it comes to sport, and you can’t really blame the media for producing the content that delivers the greatest number of hits, reads, and likes. I just have this underlying unease that we’re potentially undermining our credibility when it comes to taking the moral high ground when homophobia needs to be tackled. Ideally we should be demanding a bit more balance in the way that we talk about sport. Sure – let’s all jack-off over photos of “The top 10 Latino footballers hugging their teammates”, but we can also talk about the grassroots football clubs around the world that are helping gay men get regular exercise, build social networks, and experience the joy of participating in a team sport. We could talk more about events such as the Gay Games that every four years brings people together from around the world to play sport. We could encourage more guys to get active and get involved in their local sporting clubs. We know that generally speaking gay men aren’t a particularly healthy bunch. Sure, some of us spend a lot of time in the gym, but we take too many drugs, we smoke and drink too much, and we’re at a higher risk of self-harm and suicide than other people. There are countless examples of how sport can really transform peoples’ lives. Whether you join a gay sports club or whatever local club is available – participating in sport on a regular basis can help you improve your fitness, look better, and feel better. Sports clubs help you build social networks and spend time with people that share your interests – connecting with real guys who will probably want to have sex with you is going to be a lot more interesting than constantly masturbating to your unattainable fantasy of being appointed as the towel boy for the Argentinian football team. Sexy sports guys and near naked athletes are undeniably hot. There is no reason to stop buying the Dieux du Stade calendars, but we occasionally also need to elevate our level of conversation and coverage. Let’s demonstrate that we know a bit more about sport than just how to apply a hot oil massage. Can you kick it? There are a number of gay and gay friendly football teams throughout the UK and Ireland. Most teams meet up at least once a week for a friendly kick about and enter national and international competitions. It’s a great way to get to know new people, keep fit and have fun at the same time. Here are a few teams that we could find. Birmingham Blaze Football Club Email: email@example.com Website: www.birminghamblazefc.com BLAGSS Brighton Lesbian & Gay Sport Society Website: www.blagss.org Bristol Panthers Football club Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bristolpanthers.co.uk Dublin Devils (Ireland) Email: email@example.com Website: www.dublindevilsfc.com Gay Football Supporters Network (nationwide UK) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.gfsn.org.uk Leftfooters (London) Email:email@example.com Website: www.leftfooters.org.uk Leicester Wildecats Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.wildecats.co.uk London Romans Football Club Email: email@example.com Website: www.londonromans.com London Titans Football Club Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.londontitans.com Manchester Stingers Women’s Football Club Email: email@example.com Website: www.manchesterstingers.co.uk Nottingham Ball Bois FC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nottinghamballbois.com Soho Football Club - London Email: email@example.com Stonewall Football Club Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.stonewallfc.com Yorkshire Terriers Football Team Email: email@example.com Website: www.terriersfc.co.uk For more info or to find gay sports or social clubs near you, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/the-guide.