Much has been made of the homophobia in Jason Akermanis’ infamous column which advised footballers to stay in the closet. What I see in the piece is the link between homophobia and sexism. Notably, Akermanis felt uncomfortable when showering with homosexual players – the way he described his feelings sounded as if he was feeling objectified. Why would he feel that way? Perhaps because he was assuming that the gay players would be viewing him the same way he would view an attractive woman?
He had a glimpse of what it is like to be objectified by men and he didn’t like it. Instead of using this epiphany to reform his own behaviour, he attacked the homosexual players who had done nothing to him but hold up a mirror.
The article may be in the past, but the issues are still with us. Akermanis’ piece showed us clearly how sexism and homophobia are frequently precisely the same thing. Meanwhile, the fight for the rights of gays and lesbians to live out of the closet is intimately linked to the fight for women to live without feeling objectified by men.