In the wake of a violent attack at a Münster pride event, the soccer community is adding their voices to the calls for action against homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in western Germany.
Flanked by gay and trans pride flags, supporters groups and ultras of the Bundesliga team SV Werder Bremen — reportedly among them Caillera, Infamous Youth, and Endeavour 3000 — held up tifos during Friday’s match against FC Augsburg with messages including:
“Queerphobia kills!” (“Queerfeindlichkeit tötet!)
“Against all transphobia!” (“Gegen jede Transfeindlichkeit!”)
“Rest in peace Malte”
This follows as the LGBTQ community and its allies in Germany and across Europe expressed their outrage in the days leading up to last week’s match by news of the death of Malte C., a 25-year-old trans man who police report was attacked at Münster’s Christopher Street Day celebrations — the German analogue to Pride parades in the US.
According to Deutsche Welle, Malte had intervened in defense of a group of women who were being threatened and verbally attacked with homophobic language by a man at the Pride event. Malte was then struck repeatedly by the attacker and died of his injuries six days later.
While the suspected assailant has since been detained, many activist groups are continuing to advocate for action on the issue of transphobia and homophobia in Germany. Just days after Malte’s death made national news, another violent attack was reported in Bremen when a 57-year-old trans woman was assaulted on a tram.
The Bremen fans’ stand against this culture of hate are just one of the latest examples of the importance of supporters groups as not only bulwarks against the normalization of this kind of discrimination, but proactively taking steps to make their local communities more inclusive.
Notably in U.S. soccer circles, North Carolina supporters groups such as The Uproar were swift and unequivocal in their rejection of their team’s decision to sign Jaelene Daniels, infamous for her anti-gay statements and rejection of rainbow-colored Pride jerseys.
Prideraiser, a coalition of independent soccer supporters, recently announced that this year they collectively raised over $250,000 for local LGBTQ charities. In MLS, supporters group Los Verdes frequently coordinates with Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver to fundraise for organizations such as Playing for Pride and the Transgender Education Network of Texas.
These are just a select few examples however of the countless and ongoing initiatives spearheaded by supporters groups that may be just as passionate about soccer as they are about extending solidarity to those in our communities that need it.
As our allies in Bremen have shown this week, the fight against transphobia is and has always been a team effort.