Like all Spurs fans, we’re looking forward to today’s clash against Chelsea. However, unlike all other Spurs fans, we’re also approaching the game with an impending fear of dread at the prospect of hearing the ‘Chelsea Rent Boy’ chant.
Let’s not kid ourselves that the ‘rent boy’ chant is somehow not homophobic. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be sung, and as with the antisemitic and racist chants and noises – they’re sung precisely to be insulting and hateful. It’s also exposing a new generation of young fans to words and terms that provoke questions they shouldn’t have to ask.
The chant has been heard at grounds this season and whilst we are certain that the majority of fans don’t sing this with any intent to make LGBTQ+ fans, feel uncomfortable, ostracised or demeaned, the impact it has on us shouldn’t be underestimated as the term has been used over many years to victimise young gay men; it’s disappointing to hear it chanted when Chelsea play. We hope we won’t hear it on Sunday.
We’re Spurs, and should be better.
We know from our great work with our Club that they are completely supportive of the Proud Lilywhites and our global LGBTQ+ fan base. They are committed to ensuring our stadium is a safe and inclusive environment for all fans and won’t tolerate any form of discriminatory behaviour. We’re proud to be part of a club that fights all forms of discrimination – on and off the pitch, and the support we get from fellow fans echoes this.
We all love this game and we want to win matches and trophies, but we want to do it with style. Homophobic language, when unchallenged, can have consequences: together, we have to be the change we want to see. Making change, fan by fan if necessary, is why we’re here and we won’t rest until we’ve done it.
Should you hear or experience anything you consider to be unacceptable, or that goes against the Spurs Respects ethos you can report it to the Club following the guidance below:
Should you witness behaviour that is abusive or discriminative then please report it immediately either via a steward or by messaging confidentially on 07537 404821. These messages are received directly by the safety team at the match and enable the Club to take immediate action.
You can also use the Kick it Out app and we would also appreciate it if you could contact us through our contact form HERE so that we can continue to work with the Club to eradicate homophobia in our amazing Club.
We all want the team to do well and keep up their spirits during this tough period, so let’s start the weekend together.
Beavertown Brewery and Tottenham Hotspur LGBT+ supporter association launch limited edition Gamma Ray for Pride In London
The Tottenham Hotspur LGBT+ supporter association, the Proud Lilywhites, and Official Craft Beer Supplier at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Beavertown Brewery, have just announced a pioneering partnership launching in the run up to Pride In London!
The Tottenham based craft beer brewery is producing a limited-edition Proud Lilywhite branded can of their much-loved Gamma Ray beer which will be sold through venues in Central London over Pride in London weekend (6th/7th July).
Beavertown, which has a micro-brewery inside the new Tottenham stadium, is going to be donating proceeds from the beer to LGBT+ charity Just Like Us to support their amazing youth empowerment and mentoring projects across the UK.
This is the first of a number of collaborations between the award winning LGBT+ football supporters’ group and Beavertown Brewery.
Commenting on partnership Proud Lilywhite co-chairs, Chris Paouros and Simon Gray, said:
“We are very excited to launch our first Pride product with Beavertown. As passionate Spurs fans it’s great to be able to work with a local business and even better to see how we can join forces to benefit a grass roots LGBT+ charity.
This June marks 50 years since the Stonewall uprising in New York which sparked the LGBT+ rights movement and we couldn’t be more proud of the journey we have been on with Tottenham Hotspur over the last 5 years, but our fight is far from over. We know there is still work to do to ensure that football, sport and wider society can truly embrace people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
We hope that this campaign will not only emphasise the work there is to do, but will also support a fantastic charity whose vision is a world where all LGBT+ young people live awesome lives.”
While Logan Plant, founder of Beavertown Brewery added:
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Proud Lilywhites. Craft beer and football are often seen as exclusive communities, but that’s just not the case. Proud Lilywhites are truly living up to the Spurs motto ‘to dare is to do’ as they’re breaking the mould by pioneering an inclusive space for LGBT+ fans and tackling adversity head on. At Beavertown we strongly believe in breaking down barriers, one can at a time, which is why we’re proud to be collaborating with such an important association who we feel align with our own principles. The Pride edition of our Gamma Ray APA is just the beginning of an exciting partnership with Proud Lilywhites, and we’re delighted that the proceeds will be supporting LGBT+ youth charity Just Like Us, who champion equality in schools and universities using a network of LGBT+ role models.”
Finally, Tim Ramsey, chief executive of Just Like Us said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Beavertown and Proud Lilywhites this Pride. As people gear up to celebrate Pride this year, Beavertown Brewery is sending an amazing message of support to the LGBT+ community. It’s also hard to think of a better way to raise awareness and money to support our work to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia than with a pride edition of Gamma Ray! “
Look out for the Proud Lilywhites with members of Beavertown team marching in the Pride In London parade on the afternoon of 6th July.
For information on stockists and more details of the partnership follow @SpursLGBT
For press information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Proud Lilywhites is the official LGBT+ Supporters Association of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Formed in 2014, it has grown to over 400 members globally and is an integral part of the Spurs fan base. Proud Lilywhites pride themselves on campaigning for further equality in football, both directly as Spurs fans and as a founding member of the Pride in Football alliance. The Proud Lilywhites have run numerous equality workshops with foundation and Club staff and are also key contributors to the Kick It Out Raise Your Game programme, Football V Homophobia and Rainbow Laces campaigns.
In 2018 Proud Lilywhites won the Fans for Diversity Supporter Group of the Year award in recognition of their continued work and commitment to ensuring football is everyones game.
Beavertown is dedicated to crafting high quality, innovative beers like Gamma Ray APA or Neck Oil SIPA that appeal to the thirsty masses, as well as more experimental brews from their Tempus Project. From brewing to branding, they believe in creativity in everything they do. Their famous Gamma Man is hard to miss and even harder to forget. At Beavertown, they believe beer is more than just a beer, it’s an inclusive experience; so they host a weekly Saturday taproom to give people the chance to taste their carefully crafted beer in its natural habitat, their own Tottenham brewery. Now seven years old, Beavertown began life on a 650L kit in a BBQ joint in Haggerston, currently brewing in 5500L batches producing around 9,000,000 pints a year with a new brewery opening in March 2020 capable of 90,000,000 pints! The official craft beer of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (and how they came to meet the Proud Lilywhites), you can enjoy a crisp pint of your favourite Beavertown brew in their new taproom and microbrewery inside the stadium – the first of its kind. www.beavertownbrewery.co.uk
Just Like Us (JLU) is the LGBT+ charity for young people working for a world where LGBT+ young people live awesome lives. Our mission is to empower young people to be the champions of LGBT+ equality at school and work. To do that, we run three programmes. Our Ambassador Programme trains LGBT+ young people to give talks and workshops in schools that use their own stories to champion LGBT+ equality and challenge prejudice School Diversity Week is our annual initiative to empower teachers and pupils across the country to tackle homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying by organising activities that celebrate LGBT+ equality in education. Our Pride Groups programme trains teachers to support pupils to run pupil-lead LGBT+ and Ally groups in schools Just Like Us has worked with over 30,000 pupils through our Ambassador Programme and will reach a further 1,000,000 school students and teachers in School Diversity Week 2019. www.justlikeus.org
It’s unfathomable that we are writing this. We were supposed to talk to Jonathan after his week off and always looked forward to our phone calls and meetings because we knew we’d achieve something and it was always a joy to interact with him.
Like so many other people we are heartbroken that Jonathan is no longer with us. We’re struggling to articulate because any words we produce would never do him justice.
Kind, clever, funny and a fierce advocate for equality and inclusion, we first met Jonathan in February 2014 when he welcomed us to White Hart Lane and chaired the first ever Proud Lilywhites meeting. None of us knew what our group might become, but with Jonathan’s support and commitment to the cause we achieved so much in such a short space of time. We have no doubt that the reason the Proud Lilywhites is such a trailblazer in the LGBT+ fan group movement is down to Jonathan’s groundwork on our behalf with the Club.
We often get asked why there’s a need for an LGBT+ fan group at Spurs. Jonathan never asked, it was in his essence to be an ally and he genuinely cared. He once declared about discrimination: “I don’t get it, it’s about being human and nobody should be discriminated against”. Always a steady head, ready to listen and advise with a dry sense of humour, he wanted to work on educating fans rather than punish them. He believed in, and understood, social change and together we were making it, season by season we’d work together to push the boundaries a little more.
It’s striking, but not surprising, to see such an outpouring of grief at Jonathan’s loss; from individual fans, to fan groups, to football Clubs, the governing bodies and of course anyone who worked with him. This illustrates the measure of one of the world’s best humans. We’ve been contacted by many other LGBT+ fans who met Jonathan at various events over the years, all of them expressing their sadness, and sharing their gratitude for the work he did on helping us, and the wider LGBT+ fan movement.
Just the other day we were passing the new stadium and took a picture of a rainbow which appeared over it. Knowing we won’t get to be there with him is almost too hard to comprehend, but wherever he is now I hope he knows that we will continue our journey with him in our thoughts and hearts and will carry on with our important work for another reason now too—to honour his legacy.
Rest In Peace JW.
Chris Paouros, Simon Gray and everyone at Proud Lilywhites
We are also proud to share other tributes from the Spurs and football community:
Tottenham Hotspur’s LGBT+ supporters association, the Proud Lilywhites, has been nominated for a gong in the Football Supporters Federation annual awards.
The Proud Lilywhites, was launched in 2014 and is one of six supporter groups to be shortlisted for the Fans For Diversity Award with the winner being announced at a ceremony on 4th December in London.
Commenting on the nomination co-chairs Chris Paouros and Simon Gray said:
“We’re delighted that the Proud Lilywhites work has been recognised among the football supporting family and are really pleased that the work of LGBT+ fan groups is being highlighted with two of the six nominations going to LGBT+ groups. The field is really strong with some great work being showcased; it really illustrates that being a football fan is also about being part of your community.”
The fan group’s three key objectives are to educate, to socialise and to campaign and this year has seen the association excel in all three. 2017’s key achievements so far include:
- Receiving positive coverage in a number of national newspapers, LGBT+ websites and football media for its handling of the news of the signing of Serge Aurier. The statement around the transfer saw the groups biggest social media impact, with Twitter impressions topping 260,000
- Spearheading Tottenham Hotspur’s work in the Fare ‘football people’ fortnight of action
- Facilitating a workshop at Pride In Football’s ‘Call It Out’ conference in alongside the Club’s Head Of Supporter Services
- Speaking on the panel for Kick It Out’s ‘evening at the AMEX’ alongside Liam Rosenior, Hope Powell, Anwar Uddin and Sophie Cook
- Appearing on a panel alongside Greg Clarke at the Stonewall Rainbow Laces Summit
- Launch of the Football V Homophobia (FvH) month of action with keynote address from Donna Cullen, Tottenham Hotspur Executive Director
- Diversity and equality training session with Senior staff at White Hart Lane
- Various media opportunities include Sky Sports, BBC, 90 Minutes, Guardian Football Podcast and more
- Regular match day meet ups both at Wembley and in other venues for TV screenings
Commenting on the nomination, Donna Cullen, Tottenham Hotspur’s Executive Director:
“This nomination is testament to the fantastic work that Proud Lilywhites delivers promoting inclusion at Tottenham Hotspur – something that the Club is extremely passionate about.
“We should like to take this opportunity to wish Proud Lilywhites the best of luck at the Fans for Diversity Awards, alongside all other nominated organisations who are truly making a difference within our game.”
Future plans for the Proud Lilywhites include:
- Activities to promote Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign
- A key event to mark the Football vs Homophobia Month Of Action / LGBT History Month
- To increase the number of members in the group
- To work collaboratively with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation
- To help the Tottenham Hotspur with diversity training for staff at the club
- Increased awareness raising of LGBT issues among the wider Spurs family.
The results of the awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony near Tower Bridge with other award nominees including for player of the year Spurs heroes Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris, the ceremony will definitely be a night to remember.
For press information and interview requests please email email@example.com
A number of LGBT+ and ally fans, bloggers and media have asked us for comment on the signing of Serge Aurier given his well-publicised history.
We were initially unhappy with the signing, but given our positive dialogue with the Club we would like to use this as an opportunity to build bridges and make lasting change.
Football has the power to transform individuals’ lives and entire communities. At its best, it doesn’t merely delight us: it can provide us with a chance to transcend geographical boundaries and learn to work and play and celebrate together. Players, Clubs and the Football Authorities need to take this responsibility seriously, so what happens when players such as Serge Aurier who have been openly homophobic in the past join a new Club and have a fresh start? It actually gives us an opportunity to talk about the kind of game we want to see, players we want to support; the kind of Clubs we want to be and make effective and deep-rooted change.
We started the Proud Lilywhites in 2014 because we wanted to ensure that every Spurs fan, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity felt safe to enjoy watching their football team, knew they had a community with which to watch it and felt that they belonged. Our flag, which stood tall at White Hart Lane, became a testament to this. We wanted to be at the forefront of social and cultural transformation via football — changing hearts and minds – being part of creating the conditions that ensure all LGBT+ fans and staff feel safe and welcome in the football family.
But this is a journey – we don’t want to recriminate. One of our main tools for change is education, so we’d like to see engagement with LGBT+ fans is at the top of Serge’s list. We’ve already done great work with Stewards, Club staff and fans and look forward to working with the Club and other supporters, to show Serge Aurier that Spurs fans are incredibly diverse, welcoming and loyal.
We all love this game and we want to win matches and trophies, but not at any cost. Homophobic language, when unchallenged, can have consequences: we have to be the change we want to see. Making change, player by player, even fan by fan if necessary, is why we’re here and we won’t rest until we’ve done it.
Welcome to the famous Tottenham Hotspur Serge, we look forward to you getting to know us.
Chris Paouros and Simon Gray – Co-Chairs, Proud Lilywhites