A group of gay men are challenging the concept of masculinity and soccer in Brazil with their own gay soccer league in Rio de Janeiro. LiGay is the first of its kind in the country, and it is finally giving gay men who love the sport a safe space to participate in it.
According to The Washington Post, LiGay was started in 2017, and in its first year more than 150 men showed up to take part in the league. André Machado, the founder of one team in the league, acknowledges that they are positively disrupting a very important and beloved institution in Brazil.
“There’s no law prohibiting it, but in Brazil, there’s a social barrier that de facto prohibits gays from playing,” Machado said. “Now many are rediscovering the sport after being bullied out of it as kids.”
Latin American soccer teams have been fined repeatedly in recent years for the use of homophobic slurs and chants by fans during games. Whether or not the players being harassed were gay, the use of the slurs and chants are commonplace in fútbol culture. LiGay is trying to change that. BeesCats, the team formed by Machado, has even found enough success to join the Brazilian amateur league.
You can read more about LiGay in The Washington Post by clicking here.