How it all began














How it all began

As Senior Lecturers in the School of Sport, Tourism and the Outdoors at the University of Central Lancashire, both Louisa Jones and Mac McCarthy were already familiar with sociological issues in football and in particular the phenomenon of categorical groups whereby people participate in a sport with others with whom they feel an affinity.  This is often based on religion, ethnicity, profession etc. and is widely documented in the literature.  They knew that research had been conducted regarding lesbian participation in women’s football (including specifically lesbian teams) and, through engagement with the emerging research into homophobia in football, had become aware of gay men’s representation in the game. 

louisa and team

Coincidentally, Louisa heard an item on BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths programme in which members of the gay amateur football club Village Manchester were interviewed which further served to reinforce her view that gay men’s participation was an aspect of queer and sports studies which was little researched or explored in the academic arena.  Louisa discussed the initial idea with her colleague, Mac McCarthy who had experience of community-based projects specifically those involving the gay community in Lancashire.  They discussed the premise and scope of the research and it was at this point that Louisa invited Mac to join her as their strengths clearly complemented each other.  

They were both interested by the increasing population of the obviously heterosexist world of football by gay men. Gay teams seemed not only to be providing much needed outlets that catered for sporting interests amongst the community, but also to be, in some ways, a direct challenge to the wider world of football. 

Mac and Louisa

Louisa and Mac agreed that they did not want to focus on homophobia, although it was apparent that this would, indeed, emerge as an issue. Rather, it was more important to explore the positive aspects of this important development within the gay community.  It seemed that participation in gay football might offer a social alternative to the gay scene – a space where a man could be out about his sexuality and still play football.  The research findings to date bear out that this was indeed the case; the reasons for playing gay football as opposed to being a gay man playing in mainstream teams were varied and complex.

Learn more about how the research developed (click here), its aims(click here) and its findings(click here).



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