The International Day Against Homophobia in Sports is observed every year on Feb. 19, the birth date of Justin Fashanu, who was Britain’s first out gay footballer. Tragically, Fashanu died by suicide in 1998, and his complex legacy will also be remembered this week as he is posthumously inducted into the National Football Museum’s hall of fame.

In recent years, Feb. 19 has been a day on social media, particularly in Spain and Latin America, for football clubs to show support for LGBTQ rights and fans to start conversations about ongoing homophobic abuse in sports.

Valencia CF is one of the most notable teams in La Liga to commemorate the day.

Groups in Spain, such as Federación Estatal LGTB, have used the opportunity to raise awareness about growing trends in legislation that discriminates against trans participation in youth sports.

Uruguayan footballer Wilson Oliver’s career is also remembered by journalist Martín Rodríguez. Oliver is so far believed to be the only professional player in men’s football in Uruguay to come out publicly.

Jesús Tomillero Benavente, notably the first referee in Spanish football to publicly come out as gay, posted on Facebook to call for further action against homophobic abuse in football and to classify LGBTI-phobia as a hate crime.

Hoy 19 de Febrero es el día Internacional contra la LGTBIfobia en el deporte, desgraciadamente aún queda mucho que…

Posted by Jesus Tomillero Benavente on Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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