GLAAD calls on FIFA & US Soccer to stop homophobic chants

Tomorrow, June 3, in the United States, the highly-anticipated Copa América Centenario soccer tournament kicks off and will be watched by millions of soccer fans around the world.

Unfortunately, there’s the potential that these fans will be hearing a homophobic chant, “eeehhh puto” which means “hey fag*ot.”

GLAAD has taken steps to counter the chants. We’ve called on FIFA and U.S. Soccer to adopt a zero-tolerance policy that would prohibit the use of anti-LGBT chants and taunting. We’ve also asked them to educate fans so they understand the power of anti-gay slurs. GLAAD’s also working closely with Spanish-language network Univision, which will be televising most of the games.

The chant was heard in 2014 at the last World Cup (GLAAD spoke out then too) for which several countries received a fine, deemed by many light punishment.  Mexico’s national team recently created a campaign to educate fans, but one that never mentions homophobia specifically, nor the chants. In fact, the chant was recently heard at a game in San Antonio Texas.

There has been, at times, debate about the meaning of the word “puto,” with some arguing it’s not synonymous with a homophobic term, or that their intention is not to use it that way. The word is very much an anti-gay slur in many countries, and enough agencies have weighed in, including Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED), which wrote that the chant “reflects homophobia, sexism, and misogyny that still prevail in our society.” Sadly, millions of gay and transgender Latinos can attest to the power of that word, having heard it throughout their lives.

LGBT fans and their families and friends will be in every single stadium during Copa América Centenario and millions more will be watching on television, and we don’t want to hear a homophobic insult chanted by thousands of people, just the same as we would not want—nor would anyone tolerate—allowing a racial epithet to be chanted during one of sporting’s most important events.