Type the name of Philipp Lahm into the Google search engine and the first thing its “autocomplete” feature throws up about Germany’s national football captain is “Philipp Lahm schwul” – “Philipp Lahm gay”.
[…]As elsewhere in Europe, Germany has no openly gay men in the professional leagues. Given the amount of repressive hide-and-seek going on, it’s perhaps only natural that public debate returns regularly to the issue of gay footballers.
[…]Cultural anthropologist Tatjana Eggeling, who writes regularly on the issue and advises gay footballers, suggests the issue will return on a regular basis until professional players out themselves.
She suggests the secrecy and fear of discovery is not down to outright homophobia in soccer.
“The football stadium is the last bastion of masculinity where a man can give in to his sadness if his team is relegated,” she wrote in a recent paper.
“Football is very emotional. Everything is exploited to abuse and belittle the opponent: regional and social background or physical weakness.”
In this context homosexuality is seen as the ultimate weakness to be attacked, she suggests, ensuring gay players do everything possible to remain undiscovered. Though no figures exist, she suggests there are fewer than average gay men in professional football.
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