By Darryl Telles.
Darryl Telles’s lifelong passion for his beloved Tottenham Hotspur is a real passion, yet like other gay football supporters, he has had to endure decades of abuse and threats from homophobic fellow fans in a sport where discussing being gay or talk about homosexuality is still so awkward that there is not a single `out’ gay player in the top four tiers of the Football League. Just think about that for a moment, it’s the only sport without any out gay players, the only sport….even golfers are gay these days.
This is the story of his campaign against ugly homophobia in the beautiful game of football world, his work with the Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) and his attempts to advance the cause through constant campaigning, personal conversation and commitment and media publicity and TV interviews. He is a member of Proud Lilywhites, Tottenham Hotspur’s official LGBT supporters group.
Learn more about the GFSN here
Telles tells us his story from his own viewpoint- that of a super fan, who’s also gay and of Asian descent and gives us an intersectional glimpse into the culture of the stands and he offers insight into the changes on the terraces, the changes in the country and the utter lack of change on the pitch. His background of football obsession is carefully played out against the social changes during the Thatcher years, when being out meant you had to be a political homo. It was a difficult time and Telles suffered some serious challenges and abuse but ultimately overcame them.
Telles says “Most of the crowd are white, so you stick out because of your brown face. They’re singing the sort of chants that make you feel unwelcome, and not only because of your colour – they just can’t stand anyone who’s a poof, an arsebandit, a queer or a raving homosexual. And that’s exactly what you are…”
His ability to put things in context, to move on, to channel his passion for the beautiful game and want it to be beautiful and inclusive for all is empowering. His focus and commitment to what’s right makes this memoir an interesting read. Even if you’re no football fan you’ll find this a curious and engaging book filled with interesting anecdotes, including one where him and Justin Fashanu get drunk in a Dublin pub, exchange sexual exploits and swap tips on where to pull later on that night.
As Telles himself states, football still has a long way to go in rooting out homophobic attitudes, but in the same way racism has been shoved almost out of the game, Telles shows how football clubs and fans are open to change, change is happening at every game and eventually he hopes to sit and watch gay and straight players on the same pitch playing & scoring for the same side.
We’re queer and we should be here is a compelling and important narrative told with passion.
For more info or to buy the book see the publisher’s website here.