In recent days we have heard that FIFA is investigating Mexican fans of the national soccer team, the Tri (and perhaps Brazilian fans) for the use of the derogatory word "puto."
Amazingly, Mexico's coach Miguel Herrera has defended the use of the word as "not that bad." That attitude is shocking and so too is the fact that neither FIFA nor Mexican soccer have done more about this issue, and sooner. In fact, Conapred, the Mexican agency that investigates discrimination, has taken a stand saying the use of this word is not "a custom," it's irresponsible.
Unfortunately, we've heard many times a defense of homophobic words--and once not so long ago of racist words--as simply cultural or words that "were not meant to offend." As if intention is relevant. What's relevant is impact. It's downright depressing to hear the excuse of "culture" or intention to defend the desire to continue to use a word that hurts us so much.
Too bad it had to come to this, since not only in Mexico but also in other countries homophobia and transphobia are sadly common.
How great would it be that the legacy of this World Cup was not solely new buildings or stadiums, but rather a new awareness not just in Brazil or Mexico but throughout the whole world,of the power of hateful words.
Join GLAAD and let FIFA know it's time to stop the slurs.