Football faces up to homophobia in Mexico

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01/23/2020

Mexican Ricardo Canabal gave up playing football when he was 21, unable to reconcile his sexuality with what LGBT+ campaigners say is a deep-rooted homophobia in the sport. Now 35, he has felt able to return to the game he loves, founding his own team of gay players in one of Mexico City’s amateur LGBT+ football leagues. Younger LGBT+ players, he says, have often had an easier time. “(Playing on the team) fills me with satisfaction,” said Canabal. “It feels like something special … it’s something unique of its kind, that few countries or few cities have.” It is a small sign of change in a country with a history of homophobia in football – something activists say reflects a broader societal issue in the conservative Catholic country, where anti-LGBT+ attitudes are widespread.

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