During a workshop on “Queer Fans in the Stadium” that took place last January, the Queer Football Fanclubs, which is a network of gay and lesbian football fan clubs throughout Europe, submitted two proposals to the German Football League. The proposals were in regard to providing a more inclusive and gender-neutral stadium environment at football matches. Both of those proposals will be implemented at the VFL Wolfsburg’s upcoming match against Serbia on March 20th.
The QFF, VFL Wolfsburg and DFL will be showing that sports can adapt and be more gender inclusive by adapting The Volkswagen Arena into a gender-neutral arena. This means that unisex bathrooms will be provided, security screenings will be more respectful of a visitor’s gender identity and a full staff of volunteers in front of the uni-sex toilets to answer questions and provide opportunities for education and awareness. In addition, the arena will be blanketed in rainbow lights as a symbol and statement of the ongoing efforts of the QFF and VFL Wolfsburg in cooperation with the DFL and DFB toward LGBT equality and acceptance in sports.
“We will accompany the process constructively and evaluate the results together with all stakeholders,” said QFF press spokesman Sven Kistner.
This move comes as part of a greater effort by VFL Wolfsburg who has been taking action to fight homophobia in football. The “Diversity Week” project they have undertaken includes the team captains wearing rainbow armbands, rainbow jerseys and hosting a variety of pride events, workshops (including Queer Fans in the Stadium) and other events designed to promote LGBT acceptance, equality and inclusion in soccer.
By Dirk Smith