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Discussing Homosexuality on Association Football Fan Message Boards: A Changing Cultural Context

This article presents the findings of a discourse analysis carried out on 48 association football (soccer) message boards from across the United Kingdom concerning fans’ views towards the presence of gay footballers. It draws on over 3000 anonymous posts to examine whether hegemonic or more inclusive forms of masculinity existed. The overall findings are that, despite evidence of heteronormativity and some orthodox views towards homosexuality, a majority of supporters demonstrate more inclusivity through the rejection of posts that they feel have pernicious homophobic intent. Rather than avoiding any contestation of these orthodox posts, fans frequently challenge them and suggest that on-the-field performance is what is valued the most.