Inclusive Masculinities, Homosexuality and Homophobia in German Professional Soccer


German society and even German soccer have become more acceptant of the idea of inclusive masculinities. Hyper-masculinity is no longer the only paradigm dominating discourses on soccer. Other forms of masculinities have become more accepted in the German public and its soccer community. Nevertheless, two major aspects of homophobia remain part of the German soccer scene. First, homophobic epithets and chants continue to represent a major ingredient of the climate in soccer stadiums. Second, there is the absence of openly homosexual top-level soccer players. So far, no active players in top division German soccer have come out as gay. What explains this contrast between the acceptance of inclusive masculinities and the continued homophobia of the game? This paper analyses discourses on masculinity, homosexuality and homophobia in German professional soccer to address this puzzle. I argue that the increasing commercialization of the game and the efforts of preserving the tradition of the game tend to pull in the same direction and, therefore, reinforce each other. There simply are no large constituencies and advocacy groups that would have strong interests in eradicating homophobia.

Publication Title

Sexuality and Culture