Diversity on the Field: LGBTQIAP+ Football

Diversus players pose for a photo. (2019) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

Football is a universal language, and the most diverse bodies, genders, races and ages are represented in it. Its formulations and uses are in constant dispute. Perhaps therein lies the beauty of the sport that has established Brazil as "the country of football": its plurality.

Bárvarah Pah, Muse of the BeesCats., Rights Reserved, 2018, From the collection of: The Football Museum
BeesCats team in Paris during the Gay Games., Rights Reserved, 2018, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Resignifying the phrase, we bring Barvarah Pah, muse of BeesCats: "Football is for guys, for gays, for girls. It's for everyone!".

BeesCats was one of 21 teams with a representative interviewed for the mapping and referencing project "Diversity on the Field: LGBTQIAP+ Football", developed by the Brazilian Football Reference Center (CRFB), of The Football Museum. Between 2020 and 2022, more than 80 teams that play futsal or 7-a-side football, from all regions of the country, were listed.

Tom Waddell, creator of the World Gay Games. (2022-05-25) by Ligia DonaThe Football Museum

An international agenda: Gay Games

In 2018, in France, BeesCats was the first 7-a-side football team and the only South American representative at the Gay Games. Tom Waddell, an American athlete, was responsible for creating the tournament, originally named the Gay Olympic Games.

World Gay Games Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals. (2018) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

In its first edition, held in San Francisco, United States (1982), the event suffered from a lawsuit that prohibited the use of the term "Olympic". But that didn't detract from the celebration, which featured an opening show by Tina Turner and a closing show by Stephanie Mills.

Occupy Pacaembu Event, held at Charles Miller Square. (2017-08-26) by CassimanoThe Football Museum

In addition to stimulating competition and sharing the emotion of records and podiums, the Gay Games aims to spread the ideas of tolerance and respect. The 1994 edition in New York coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, considered a milestone in the fight for LGBTQIAP+ rights in the United States.

Bulls team, champion of the second edition of Champions LiGay. (2018-04-14) by Pedro JuniorThe Football Museum

How do they organize themselves?

Before the BeesCats gained international visibility, a long way was traveled and prepared by several Brazilian teams. Its foundation has the same spark: a group of acquaintances who want to play football without sexual orientation or gender identity being a factor of exclusion.

Divas athletes, from the city of Agricolândia/PI. (2019-12-18) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

Groups use various methods of organization, such as social media or bar meetings. There are also stories such as that of Divas, a team formed in a village of 107 families in Agricolândia (PI). In order to get the first players, Gean Carlos went looking for friends and acquaintances.

Real Centro team celebrates winning the championship. (2020-06-29) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

When everything was bush... pioneer teams

By trying to list the precursors, we arrived at Real Centro e Magia. The first one was founded in 1990 by a group of gay friends. This information, however, was not widely shared: there was some concern about the reception of the mostly heterosexual teams against which they played.

In the south of the country, Magia, considered by some players to be "the first openly gay team" on the tour, was founded on a similar dynamic in 2005.

Meninos Bons de Bola team during the event Ocupa Pacaembu. (2017-08-26) by Guto AbreuThe Football Museum

A decade later, another team was formed between meetings of the Diversity Reference Center (CRD) in São Paulo: Meninos Bons de Bola. The first known team of trans men in Brazil, MBB celebrated its first anniversary at the Occupy Pacaembu Festival.

T Mosqueteiros team during training. (2022) by CassimanoThe Football Museum

Since then, other transgender teams have strengthened, such as MandaBuscá, Pogonas, T Mosqueteiros, Trans United and BigTBoys. The unique relationship of support and recognition between the teams has been fundamental to the discussion around the creation of the first Trans League on the tour.

Consolidating a national league

With a first edition held in November 2017, the national competition was organized by members of teams that were already part of the tour. The first of five editions also led to the creation of LiGay Nacional de Futebol. With a total of 73 teams mapped over the course of its five years of existence, LiGay currently has around 38 affiliated teams.

T Mosqueteiros team during match. (2022) by CassimanoThe Football Museum

One of the greatest current achievements was the affiliation of Trans United, which played in the Southeast Stage, in 2022. The team's participation also opened up the discussion of a possible bracket with only transgender teams. For Rodrigo Arcanjo, president of the club, the presence was strategic.

Athletes from Madalenas pose for a photo. (2019) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

The mapped teams also play friendlies and competitions organized by other entities. Madalenas, for example, sees football as a possibility for female inclusion. Of the championships in which they participated, are the Lily Parr Cup and the birthday of the Meninos Bons de Bola.

Football as a possibility for a future

Being part of a team, especially in this case, goes beyond the limits of the four lines. In addition to the possibility of inserting a sports practice in the routine, football can change lives. Some of the interviewees reported having experienced depression and anxiety at different times. Dante, goalkeeper for Trans United, said: "After the sport, after being embraced, I can talk about the future".

Natus team during the True Colors Cup. (2019-09-07) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

For Alexandre Antoniazzi, from Natus, being part of a team and playing ball represents "the possibility of being a man, with all the characteristics I have, full in society".

Bharbixas team poses for a photo during Champions LiGay. (2018-04-14) by Douglas BarcelosThe Football Museum

The Marquezines: the importance of supporters' groups

The encouragement of family, friends and partners is essential. The Bharbixas supporters, formed mostly by the athletes' boyfriends, for example, are affectionately nicknamed "As Marquezines" - in reference to actress Bruna Marquezine, ex-girlfriend of professional footballer Neymar.

Barcemonas athletes pose for a photo. (2021) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

There is no distance when it comes to playing

Barcemonas, a team from Ananindeua (PA), travels all over the state to play friendlies with other teams. The record was seven hours on the road! On these occasions, a bus is hired to transport players and fans who want to watch the matches.

Cangayceiros team poses for a photo., Rights Reserved, 2019-09-20, From the collection of: The Football Museum
Lucas Almeida, MandaBuscá player, during a match., Rights Reserved, 2022, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Karyocas players pose for a photo. (2019) by Rights ReservedThe Football Museum

Do you want to help increase this mapping?

Are you part of an LGBTQIAP+ team and would you like to share your experience and your team's history with The Football Museum? Contact us by email crfb@museudofutebol.org.br.

Mariana Chaves, Exhibition and Cultural Program Coordinator at the Football Museum. (2019) by Márcio GuerraThe Football Museum

In memory of Mariana Chaves (1978-2022), Coordinator of the Cultural Exhibitions and Programming Center at The Football Museum. Paraphrasing the Dibradoras, Mari passed through this existence as a light breeze, but with the intensity of a big wave. Mari, we love you!

Credits: Story

The Football Museum
São Paulo, June 2022.

São Paulo's State Government
Rodrigo Garcia - Governor

Department of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo
Sérgio Sá Leitão - Secretary
Cláudia Pedrozo - Executive Secretary
Frederico Mascarenhas - Chief of Staff
Paula Paiva Ferreira - Coordinator of the Museum Heritage Preservation Unit

IDBrasil Culture, Education and Sport - Social Organization of Culture
Administrative Council
Carlos Antonio Luque - President
Renata Vieira da Motta - Executive Director
Vitoria Boldrin - Administrative and Financial Director
Marilia Bonas - Technical Director

Exhibition Diversity on the Field: LGBTQIAP+ Football
Curation and research: Dóris Régis and Ligia Dona
Texts: Ligia Dona
Metadata and montage: Dóris Régis
Review: Dóris Régis, Fiorela Bugatti, Marcel Tonini and Renata Beltrão
Translation: Marcel Tonini
Image processing: Pablo Mazzucco

Bibliographic references
BRASIL PARTICIPA DA PARIS GAY GAMES EM DEZ MODALIDADES. 31 jul. 2018. 1 vídeo (4:18 min). TV Brasil (YouTube).
CAMARGO, Wagner Xavier de. Esporte, cultura e política: a trajetória dos Gay Games nas práticas esportivas contemporâneasRevista USP, São Paulo, n. 108, p. 97-114, jan.-mar. 2016.
CAMARGO, Wagner Xavier de. Gêneros em disputa: a LiGay Nacional de Futebol Society e o espaço de acontecimentoEstudos Feministas, Florianópolis, v. 29, n. 2, maio-ago. 2021.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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