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James Child on the LGBT Sport Podcast


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52 minutes ago, hunsletgreenandgold said:

Depending on how i'm feeling on a given day, I still find it amusing/grotesque that Wigan were going to hold their LGBT+/inclusivity day when they played Catalans (for a very obvious reason) but completely ignored the player in their ranks....irony is dead. 

But he's their player, so it doesn't count.

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17 minutes ago, OMEGA said:

Richard Agar copped a ban for calling Child’s “bent” during a post match interview when he was Hull FCs coach. Agar maintained that he was referring to the one sided nature of Child’s performance during the game that night but there was also a wry smirk on Agar’s face as he defended his words.

Unacceptable for a coach to call a ref bent anyway as it goes beyond a bad performance , it infers bias or corruption. I don’t rate Child personally but bent is something else beyond that 

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18 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Yeah, I have heard that on the terraces at different levels and haven’t ever taken it as a dig at someone’s sexuality and more at their perceived performance in that game. 

Every smeggin week I hear claims of refs being "bent".... and every bloody week I start chelpin back that refs are not "bent" or show any bias towards a team. Getting a decision wrong is not evidence of conscious bias.

I can genuinely and honestly say I have never knowingly heard any gay ref or players referred to as "bent" used as a slight on their sexuality.

I remember being accused of homophobia after I referred to keegan hurst as the worst prop to play for fev this century ffs.... my reply to that accusation consisted of two words and no further debate. 

 

Edited by Robin Evans
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25 minutes ago, Damien said:

To be fair I have heard that term loads when it comes to referee's and it has always been in a dodgy, corrupt sort of way. I'm happy to think that is exactly what Agar meant.

If you were aware of its other possible meaning though - and most people are - it's definitely the word you'd use if you wanted to cause maximum irritation and the one you'd avoid if you didn't.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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In respect of this topic it would be interesting if the players union were to run an anonymous survey to see how many players would (anonymously) self report as gay/whatever the various terms are these days.

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1 minute ago, giasf said:

In respect of this topic it would be interesting if the players union were to run an anonymous survey to see how many players would (anonymously) self report as gay/whatever the various terms are these days.

It's a question on the registration form when players register with amateur clubs.

A club I knew of (now folded) had players who registered as bi/gay.... it really really wasn't a big deal.

Whether the lad coming down from another club could break a tackle in the centres was important to the coach. His sexuality simply was not an issue to him.or other players.

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1 hour ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Yeah, I have heard that on the terraces at different levels and haven’t ever taken it as a dig at someone’s sexuality and more at their perceived performance in that game. 

Calling somebody 'bent' is similar to somebody saying 'I was gypped.' Whilst it has offensive connotations, I would argue that most using it don't use it knowing it that it is homophobic or racist. I only heard the gypped example when I started hanging around in Liverpool, and for years had no idea it had anything to do with gypsies. 

With 'bent' I have certainly used it in a non-homophobic way to mean crooked and biased, probably when talking about referees as well. That doesn't mean that I was unaware that it can also be a homophobic slur, for some reason I'd just never made the connection between the two. If I'm 100% honest, I think I've only just made that connection.

I've heard plenty of words in society and RL that people use knowingly as homophobic - the use of gay being the most common one but others such as queer and ######. I've known people defend the use of 'gay' as being nothing to do with sexuality but I've also known somebody scared to come out because people around him used the word gay like that, and he thought it meant they weren't accepting.

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2 hours ago, Johnoco said:

How does it need more role gay role models? There's plenty around - and being gay doesn't stop you from being a total person who I hold in very low esteem anyway.

Intelligent role models in any shape or form are what is needed, not reverence based on their sexuality. 

It's about representation. Speaking as a gay rugby fan and player who is only recently 'out', it's so much tougher to be yourself when you can't see anyone you can identify with. RL isn't always the most welcoming to LGBT people (well, gay men specifically) in my experience. Low level homophobic insults and attitudes pervade the culture sadly. It can be a very lonely place at times.

Being able to see more visible LGBT people in playing/official/etc roles is very helpful in that sense. I do sometimes wonder how many gay players (and not just in RL) have been lost as they felt it was too much of a burden to continue playing a game they otherwise enjoy.

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56 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

If you were aware of its other possible meaning though - and most people are - it's definitely the word you'd use if you wanted to cause maximum irritation and the one you'd avoid if you didn't.

I disagree, it is very commonly used and I have overwhelmingly heard it used in a dodgy/corrupt context, exclusively so when it comes to referees. Even in a wider context barely a crime drama is aired that doesn't make reference to bent coppers.

It is making a lot of presumptions to try and revise history in my opinion. Firstly it presumes what Agar meant in the heat of the moment and secondly that he was even aware of James Childs sexuality 10 years ago. If he was in the small world of RL I would be amazed that this is only news now.

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2 minutes ago, Damien said:

I disagree, it is very commonly used and I have overwhelmingly heard it used in a dodgy/corrupt context, exclusively so when it comes to referees. Even in a wider context barely a crime drama is aired that doesn't make reference to bent coppers.

It is making a lot of presumptions to try and revise history in my opinion. Firstly it presumes what Agar meant in the heat of the moment and secondly that he was even aware of James Childs sexuality 10 years ago. If he was in the small world of RL I would be amazed that this is only news now.

Childs confirms in the podcast that most people on the inside in RL have known he was gay for at least ten years.

As a very related aside, one of the first football chants I can remember learning (my parents were so proud) had the cheery lyrics: He's gay / He's bent / His **** is up for rent / Refereeee / Refereeee

The link between bent being gay and bender being an actual homosexualist is one of the many reasons why Wimpy's Bender In a Bun was quite so funny.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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21 minutes ago, Would-Be Halfback said:

RL isn't always the most welcoming to LGBT people (well, gay men specifically) in my experience.

 

It's not my experience in league. In the clubs I've had contact with.... nobody cares. They really don't.

The only dodgy comment I heard was aimed at a lad who was comfortable saying his was bi-sexual. One of his mates declared "I'm sure he's only bi so it doubles his chance of a shag on Friday night"!!!!

Sexuality amongst young uns just isn't an issue at the clubs I used to go to. 

 

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Fair play to him though. He speaks really well on the podcast and has overcome a lot of adversity to make it to the top as a referee. Even little things like starting out so young and writing twice to the RFL after his initial letter wasn't replied to (the least said about that the better). Listening really makes you realise that referees are human too and put up with an awful lot of ****. It must certainly take its toll mentally and you have to take your hat off to them, in particular the junior refs who are doing it for nothing and who put up with all kinds of rubbish.

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7 minutes ago, Robin Evans said:

It's not my experience in league. In the clubs I've had contact with.... nobody cares. They really don't.

The only dodgy comment I heard was aimed at a lad who was comfortable saying his was bo-sexual. One of his mates declared "I'm sure he's only bi so it doubles his chance of a shag on Friday night"!!!!

Sexuality amongst young uns just isn't an issue at the clubs I used to go to. 

 

I don't mean this to be at all confrontational, but do you identify as LGBT+ in any way? (Genuine question). Because I don't say it lightly. I know what it's like to be in the position of being in a changing knowing I'm the only one there who knows I'm gay and hearing another player called a f****t because he went off with a bit of a soft injury, or jokes/stories where the punchline is essentially "haha gays". And this is not 30 years ago - I'm talking the last 5 years at most. Players who are in their early 20s. Just because you don't notice it, doesn't mean it doesn't still happen. When questioned, I'm sure many of those players would say that there's nothing wrong with being gay, and they'd mean it. But don't then think about how their behaviour creates such a hostile atmosphere AT TIMES - this is obviously not constant, but when it does I used to feel so uncomfortable, and couldn't see how I could possibly ever tell anyone because it would never be accepted.

All this is my own experiences. Other players may not have experienced this, but I definitely have.

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6 minutes ago, Damien said:

Fair play to him though. He speaks really well on the podcast and has overcome a lot of adversity to make it to the top as a referee. Even little things like starting out so young and writing twice to the RFL after his initial letter wasn't replied to (the least said about that the better). Listening really makes you realise that referees are human too and put up with an awful lot of ****. It must certainly take its toll mentally and you have to take your hat off to them, in particular the junior refs who are doing it for nothing and who put up with all kinds of rubbish.

Agreed. It's also notable to me how lightly he treats getting death threats so serious that they have to be referred to the police. As if that's just part and parcel of being a referee.

His stuff about junior refs is pretty grim, isn't it?

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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8 minutes ago, Would-Be Halfback said:

I don't mean this to be at all confrontational, but do you identify as LGBT+ in any way? (Genuine question). Because I don't say it lightly. I know what it's like to be in the position of being in a changing knowing I'm the only one there who knows I'm gay and hearing another player called a f****t because he went off with a bit of a soft injury, or jokes/stories where the punchline is essentially "haha gays". And this is not 30 years ago - I'm talking the last 5 years at most. Players who are in their early 20s. Just because you don't notice it, doesn't mean it doesn't still happen. When questioned, I'm sure many of those players would say that there's nothing wrong with being gay, and they'd mean it. But don't then think about how their behaviour creates such a hostile atmosphere AT TIMES - this is obviously not constant, but when it does I used to feel so uncomfortable, and couldn't see how I could possibly ever tell anyone because it would never be accepted.

All this is my own experiences. Other players may not have experienced this, but I definitely have.

The key voices in any debate such as this are those that live the experiences. Everyone else is just making assumptions. 

We should listen and we should change based on what we hear.

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Just now, gingerjon said:

Agreed. It's also notable to me how lightly he treats getting death threats so serious that they have to be referred to the police. As if that's just part and parcel of being a referee.

His stuff about junior refs is pretty grim, isn't it?

Yes, thoroughly depressing. Without referees there is no junior game, I think spectators and parents need to remember that. Its one thing professional referees putting up with that, in the relative safety of the professional game, but I can imagine referees at junior and amateur games being fearful for their safety at times for next to no reward.

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28 minutes ago, Robin Evans said:

It's not my experience in league. In the clubs I've had contact with.... nobody cares. They really don't.

The only dodgy comment I heard was aimed at a lad who was comfortable saying his was bi-sexual. One of his mates declared "I'm sure he's only bi so it doubles his chance of a shag on Friday night"!!!!

Sexuality amongst young uns just isn't an issue at the clubs I used to go to. 

 

Data is not the plural of anecdote. Just because you've not come across homophobia in your specific environment(s), it doesn't mean that the problem doesn't exist on a broader scale or in different environments with Rugby League. A gay man has literally just told you his own experience of homophobia. If we want the sport to be an inclusive one, and we should, then we should take the time to listen to these experiences and work out how to improve the environment rather than saying "well I've never seen it" as though that ends the discussion.

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5 minutes ago, zylya said:

Data is not the plural of anecdote. Just because you've not come across homophobia in your specific environment(s), it doesn't mean that the problem doesn't exist on a broader scale or in different environments with Rugby League. A gay man has literally just told you his own experience of homophobia. If we want the sport to be an inclusive one, and we should, then we should take the time to listen to these experiences and work out how to improve the environment rather than saying "well I've never seen it" as though that ends the discussion.

Never said it ended discussion. I'm posting my experiences and the attitudinal approach of straight players to lgbt players... e.g.ambivalence. in those cases sexuality really wasn't/isn't an issue.

Those are my experiences.  Nothing else. I haven't indicated anywhere anything other than that

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24 minutes ago, Would-Be Halfback said:

I don't mean this to be at all confrontational, but do you identify as LGBT+ in any way? 

No. I'm straight. I have immediate family and close friends and colleagues who are gay, multi-racial sorts.

I work with folks with learning disabilities.... some of whom struggle with their sexuality....  you think you've seen the most marginalised section of our society? Walk a day in my shoes . No-one takes a knee for these folk.

I'm very much an all inclusive sort.

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3 hours ago, JonNgog said:

How does it need them? Well, do you think it’s a total coincidence that professional football has not a single high profile, openly gay player? 

That's football, not society. Maybe not enough gay people like football, I don't know. Are there enough straight people working in the theatre? Maybe different people like different things? 

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