by James Sean Dickson
Monday, 21
November 2022
Reaction
17:20

Thanks for the moving gesture of solidarity, Harry Kane

Armbands supporting LGBTQ rights were abandoned before they were even worn
by James Sean Dickson
England captain Harry Kane wearing a OneLove armband in an international fixture earlier this year. Credit: Getty.

As a gesture, it was already hollow. “#OneLove” armbands were due to be worn by players from England, Wales and several other European nations as a symbol of solidarity towards LGBTQ people while the World Cup was held in one of the world’s most sexually repressive countries.

But Richard Of York did not Give Battle In Vain for the rainbow on these armbands — instead the spectrum on offer was red, black, green, magenta, yellow and cyan. Even this was deemed too offensive for the mediaeval Qatari hosts, forcing FIFA, football’s governing body, to threaten immediate yellow cards for players wearing the bands.

Having intended to highlight how gay men face heavy fines and seven years of imprisonment, if not the death penalty, in the tournament’s host country, the teams promptly folded. This afternoon England’s players hit Iran for six, displaying impressive attacking chemistry but no symbols of protest.

Of course, Enlightenment values of tolerance and liberalism were never going to be fit to compete with the sackfuls of cash on offer, as well as a chance at footballing glory.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games,” said seven European teams in a joint statement

Here’s the thing: LGBTQ people don’t get to choose between gestures and money. This is our existence, and sexual repression results in real, measurable harm — from bullying and self-censorship to the sharp end of depression, sexual violence and suicide.

“Qatar 2022 will be a celebration of unity and diversity — a joining of people from all walks of life — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression — everybody will be welcome,” FIFA said only months ago, in a Pride Month statement.

What individuals and organisations say and what they do diverge with gay abandon, and growing up gay, you learn to be a cynic. For LGBTQ people, Pride Month is fast becoming an annual ritual of noticing how global companies drape themselves in the symbols of our liberation as a clout-boosting branding exercise, except in the countries where this symbolism matters the most.

Joe Lycett is right — protest without fear of consequence isn’t protest at all. David Beckham may have been the first Premier League footballer in history to appear on the front cover of Attitude magazine, a popular gay monthly, but if he isn’t prepared to follow that well-intentioned publicity with deeds in the present, his gesture is meaningless to us. Much like the unworn OneLove armbands.

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
12 days ago

“This is our existence, and sexual repression results in real, measurable harm — from bullying and self-censorship to the sharp end of depression, sexual violence and suicide.”
Many women and other members of society are being bullied, forced to self-censor, being exposed to sexual violence and depression because of the intolerant, vicious attacks and demands of the all powerful LGBTQ mob.
Frankly, I am utterly tired of hearing about LGBTQ, and having forced in to every aspect of my life particularly as they have become the most protected and celebrated class of citizens who get pandered to evey major institution. The more they get, the more they demand.
I care far more about the safety of women who being forced to have biological men enter their spaces in hospitals, prisons, changing rooms, and even rape councilling. Even worse is the psycological, pharmaceutical, and surgical experimentation on confused children advocated for by the dangerous LGBTQ movement.
If I never hear the self-indulgent whining by the LGBTQ community again it would a great blessing.

Last edited 12 days ago by Marcus Leach
Ruud van Man
Ruud van Man
12 days ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I fully agree with you. In fact, I’m heartily sick of the whole victimhood and grievance industry. Anyway, I take solace in the certain knowledge that Mr Dickson is out in Qatar at this very moment protesting on behalf of his cause, just like all those Extinction Rebellion people are out in China protesting about CO2 emissions.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
12 days ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I believe LGBT activists- and especially the T ones – are squandering the goodwill of society. It took 40 years to get it – and they are spending it down in 2. Whether it is Pride parades banning police, or the trans activists constantly attacking women – or film critics telling us we are bigoted because we don’t want to watch a gay rom com – people are getting fed up and I genuinely think it is backfiring.

N Forster
N Forster
12 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yep, the concept of tolerance is highly under rated. And achievable. Yet now we are being told we have to celebrate. And for many of us, we have no wish to. Tolerance was sufficient.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Or condemning lesbians who don’t want to have sex with men dressed as women.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
12 days ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

There is L, G, B, T, Q etc. and then there are LGBTQ campaigners – none of whom have ever asked my opinion – I am G, for the record (and many others, reluctantly classify themselves by any of the other letters – personally I would rather be called by my name!) not that it matters. Do not assume that we are one and the same thing! Some people are racists, but not all people are racists. Some people are morons etc…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 days ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

define racist please? and what about the freedom of expression to dislike LBGT?

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 day ago

No, that is not my place, I have no special insight into societal understandings – few do. You can dislike or like what you want, it’s your life, dismal though it seems.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
12 days ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

How can you be oppressed when every Fortune 500 corporation in the world takes an entire month to publicly celebrate your lifestyle choices?

AC Harper
AC Harper
12 days ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Imagine the furore if LGBTQ became LGBTQWM – where W and M stood for Women and Men. You know, ordinary people who also suffer from the stereotypical judgement of others. Just not enough suffering to attract activists’ desperate thirst for victimhood to represent.

Robert Leigh
Robert Leigh
11 days ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

It’s all well summarised by these spot on comments. I’d just like to add that when the Qataris see our society being degraded by the LBGTQ mob, the sight of the rainbow flag will persuade them to dig deeper into their fundamentalism. If we could set the example with a balanced approach towards minorities we could influence other nations to do the same

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
12 days ago

However England yet again disgraced itself by knee bending.
What is this obsession with such grovelling behaviour.?
It is a national disgrace and Mr Southgate should be disciplined if not discharged.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
12 days ago

Absolutely spot on. Grovelling was the exact word I was searching for myself.

Even in this increasingly unhinged and cowed nation there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind the majority of people must see these displays as utterly pathetic.

Our enemies around the world must be absolutely pissing themselves as we unambiguously signal that we are hopelessly in thrall of progressive blue-haired lunacy.

Last edited 12 days ago by Jim Jam
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Agreed, ‘our’ capacity for self-abasement seems to know no bounds.
“How are the mighty fallen indeed”.
Fortunately my limited ‘research’ reveals that very few people care one jot about this LGBTQ or BLM tosh, so all is not lost. Thus there will be a reckoning…..Sine Missione!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 days ago

most voters actually dislike most movements!… Politicians are just too media craven to ” get it”!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 days ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Yet the fans still turn up and tune in

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 days ago

not Mr Southgate… Just Southgate.. he is an other rank, and not a gentleman rider!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
11 days ago

Yes you’re correct but my Chief of Staff has ordered me NOT to be too perfunctory!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 days ago

Surely there are LBGT terms in football, like ” get one high up in the box”?

james goater
james goater
11 days ago

I regret that I have only one upvote to give you.

Paul T
Paul T
12 days ago

I agree this episode demonstrates how cheap and shallow the great and the good’s expressions of protest are. But what a massive air of entitlement! What makes the author, or Joe Lycett, think Harry Kane or David Beckham owe them some costly gesture of support? If you object to Qatar, don’t go. Or, go and make your own protest and take the consequences.
I also can’t help the feeling that there is another woke hypocrisy at play here. I have no great truck with them, but Qatar’s laws embody that nation’s way of life, informed by their values and their religion. Doesn’t all this noise amount to the assertion of the superiority of our own ‘liberal’ values. Isn’t that colonialist, Islamophobic and racist? Perhaps the author should check his white privilege.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

This is a great point. We are told constantly by progressives that our culture is awful for imposing its views – for example Christianity – on the world through colonialism. But it is OK for progressive values and ideas – for example CO2 reductions to fight global warming – to be down the third world’s throat.

Dominic S
Dominic S
12 days ago

They are there to play football. If you want someone to go there and make political comment about your difference of opinion with the way Qatar runs itself I suggest you go there and do it yourself.

Brett H
Brett H
12 days ago
Reply to  Dominic S

Deleted.

Last edited 12 days ago by Brett H
Michael Kellett
Michael Kellett
10 days ago
Reply to  Dominic S

I don’t think that the author is asking for political comment or the expression of a different opinion to be made on his behalf or on mine, as I myself am also gay.
The problem is that they all said that they weren’t there just to play football, they were going to make a protest. Just like they’ve been taking the knee for the past two years. We’ve had the sanctimonious Southgate telling us what bad people we are because we don’t agree with silly gestures that have no negative consequences for those making them. And then, as soon as there are likely to be negative consequences, they fold. That’s what the author is complaining about.
As has been pointed out elsewhere in several places, if they felt so strongly about the issues they wouldn’t be there. What they did by folding demonstrated that they are nothing more than pious virtue signallers. And it was especially ironic and shaming that they signalled their virtue while playing Iran, whose team have most definitely made a protest that will have negative consequences for them and their families.

Last edited 10 days ago by Michael Kellett
R Wright
R Wright
12 days ago

Haven’t you had enough victories? Content yourself with having the entire western world at your feet without needing to export this madness to cultures that despise it.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
12 days ago

The hypocrisy of Lineker, Neville and others is pretty sickening.

The fact that the England team are still willing to kowtow to a racist, corrupt organisation on the basis of solidarity for one group, but not willing to suffer a yellow card for another, is pretty damning of them.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

It may have a link to the fact that half of the team players are oppressed member of that so oppressed group.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
12 days ago

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games,” said seven European teams in a joint statement. “

Why on earth not? Do they have values, or don’t they have values? Do they think “showing solidarity with LBGTQ people” or whatever is they think the armbands were doing in the first place is a good thing, sufficient to pay a price for, or not? Principles are nothing if you are not prepared to pay for them; and if everyone did it then everyone would get booked so then no-one would have any sporting advantage. Who gives a stuff about a “booking”?

Interesting isn’t it that it wasn’t red cards that FIFA were threatening – because then if teams did wear them en masse games would be abandoned and then the pathetic hypocritical power-crazed irredeemably corrupted cowards who run the show would lose some of their precious money.

Personally I don’t think wearing a silly armband is actually a particularly good idea and politics has no place in sport but it is just the sheer, shallow, idiotic hypocrisy that really gets my goat. And just look at all those craven celebrities who will say ANYTHING to protect their own interests and status, including to defend this despicable, mercenary, soulless circus of a World Cup.

Switch off your TV sets and do something more interesting instead (but not necessarily writing angry comments on Unherd. There are better things to do with your time in this world).

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
12 days ago

Go woke, go broke.
Virtue signaling stops being fun when it actually costs you,

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
12 days ago

Perhaps what they need is two kinds of “Taking the knee” one for BLM and one for LGBTQ+ or maybe they can develop a kind of combined gesture.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
12 days ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Yes, why not the full ‘kowtow’?
I’m sure Fu Manchu & Co would approve!

John Solomon
John Solomon
12 days ago

It would be quite an apposite posture in an islamic country, would it not?

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
12 days ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Maybe they can do some kind of ‘Hokey Cokey’ – you put your right knee down, you put your left knee up, etc…

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
11 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Several hundred thumbs-up for this one!

Last edited 11 days ago by Sue Sims
Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
12 days ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

What, like maybe being down on BOTH knees, head in the sand, arse in the air, with a little white flag (presumably ‘of privilege’) sticking out of the latter ? Which is actually quite appropriate, because if you combine ‘all’ the colours of the rainbow, what do you get ? Oh yes, that’s right, abject surrender !!!

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
11 days ago

People are becoming fed up with having the LGBT agenda rammed down their throat.

Frances An
Frances An
12 days ago

Hmmm… My thoughts about the article are mixed. I agree with the author’s disdain for woke signalling that only seems to occur where the fight has already been won, then silent in countries where sexual minorities are still mistreated (‘Pride Month is fast becoming an annual ritual of noticing how global companies drape themselves in the symbols of our liberation as a clout-boosting branding exercise, except in the countries where this symbolism matters the most.’). However, I’m not sure if foreign guests insisting on wearing armbands is the answer.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
11 days ago
Reply to  Frances An

Right, in a values clash the guests should accede to the hosts. I do agree very much with the author’s criticism of FIFA, there aren’t many comments here noting the absolute blazing hypocrisy of that rotten organization.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 days ago

”I don’t wanna wear the ribbon!”
“You got to wear de reebon!”
God, it’s all so tedious. Why is everyone supposed to care about your sexual preferences? No one gives a toss about mine, and I don’t spend my days forcing my identity or anything else on strangers. Just live your life and leave the rest of us out of it.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
12 days ago

And here comes again the omnipresent acronym…

Brett H
Brett H
12 days ago

Laughable. They’re nothing but egotistical, shallow entertainers.

Last edited 12 days ago by Brett H
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
11 days ago

F.. off and play football – keep your political gestures to yourself

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 days ago

“… gay men face heavy fines and seven years of imprisonment, if not the death penalty”
Well that is just not true is it. The issue is not being gay the issue is acting on it

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 days ago

Who gives a damn? The average England fan dislikes LGBT as much as Muslims

Mark Duffett
Mark Duffett
11 days ago

Sporting contests and their participants should never be platforms for political grandstanding. The same goes for taking the knee.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
10 days ago

Previously the LGBTQ mob just persecuted women and Christians but now it’s open season on Islamic nations. Their form of ‘tolerance’ knows no bounds.

Iris C
Iris C
10 days ago

What about good manners? The football teams have been invited to Qatar. They are guests. Shouldn’t they accept (if not respect) the cultural and political differences prevailing in that country.
To my mind, the major benefit of international sporting events is the acceptance of differences. Has there been demonstrations like this at World Cup events before, i.e. in Russia last time round?