By Dec Campbell
Football has always been a popular sport in Yorkshire, with the likes of Leeds United, Hull City and the Sheffield clubs, enjoying success over the years, but there is another team in Yorkshire making a stand to the norms of Football.
The Yorkshire Terriers are the only LGBT based Football team within the county.
Jack McLean has been a player at the club since 2014, he is also the Terriers recruitment officer. He spoke to the Yorkshire Voice exclusively about his sporting inspirations, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Peter Crouch and Bradley Wiggins, because they didn’t ‘fit into the consensus’ And that’s what sport is about, seeking out role models that give you passion.
McLean explained “It is shown that as a general rule more lesbians who are into sport will play team sports and more gay men involved in physical activities will go to the gym or run and do not participate in team activities. There is an issue and a barrier but it is in my opinion, often a fictional one and sadly that is a big factor.”
Jack also touched upon potential obstacles people in the gay community may face: “I think if you ask most gay men or other variations on LGBT*, you’ll find they all faced barriers over whether they ‘should’ play a team sport or if they would be accepted.”
The fact that there are very few openly gay professional footballers and role models from the community may contribute to challenges LGBT footballers face. Many may be lacking inspiration and who to look up to, such as Gareth Thomas’s contribution in Rugby.
The effect of the League and the Terriers contribution to the community is important:
“We currently have around 20-30 players that will at some point over the season play. But a core of around 15 regulars at the moment but this has risen and fallen over our 20 years of existence.”
Jack also commented on reports of an England International set to come out as gay: “If a player seen as a lower quality was the first high profile out player that a perception that you cannot be gay and a top player may continue to rumble underneath people’s consciousness.”
The GFSN national league has proved a great success since it was formed in 2002, With the Terriers being a founding member, there impact has been huge in the LGBT community within sport.