People have Called me Lesbian for My Hair – Hector Bellerin
Spain and Arsenal right-back, Hector Bellerin has revealed in an interview that he had faced anti-gay abuse both on and off the field.
You act little; differently, you become a target – Bellerin
Bellerin, who likes to try different things starting from hairstyle to clothes has often been a victim of abuse both online and at matches. He also revealed he is abused not only on social media but also during the Premier League matches. Bellerin told The Times,
“Most of the abuse is online, but you hear it in the stadium too. People have called me ‘lesbian’ for growing my hair. There are other kinds of homophobic insults. I have learned to grow a thick skin, but it can affect you. Every now and again, you get a bit of self-doubt.”
The Spanish defender also feels if footballers do anything differently and do not conform to preconceptions, they will always get targeted.
“The problem is that people have an idea of what a footballer should look like, how they should behave, what they should talk about. You act a little differently, and you become a target. There is pressure to conform. This is very dangerous. In life, you should be allowed to express yourself. People are happier like this.”
At the moment, there are no gay footballers in the Premier League. And Bellerin said it remains difficult for a player to come out than it would be if they were involved in another sport.
“It is impossible that anybody could be openly gay in football,” he said. “Some fans are not ready. When it happened in rugby with the Welsh player [Gareth Thomas], people respected the situation. The fans respected his decision. In football, the culture is different. It can be very personal, very nasty, particularly for players from the opposition team.”
Saif Ahmed Chowdhury
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