As some people might know, my novel Ravages has been recently published. The story is about two happily closeted ( “It’s private”) Premier League footballers who discover in the most cruel way imaginable that closets don’t always offer safety and that love, friendship and acceptance are closer by than they ever hoped to dream.
I wrote Ravages because the characters refused to leave me alone until I had written their story. But part of me has always been afraid it would be an outdated story. (Married) men cruising for sex with other men and being physically attacked for that? That’s starting to be a thing of the past, isn’t it? A dying out tradition, from a time when living a normal and healthy life with a person of your own gender simply wasn’t on the menu. Well, anyone following the news concerning gay men can easily come to the conclusion that sadly, even in 2011, in Western Europe, it is very much not a thing of the past.
But high level still active gay footballers are this close to coming out to the wider public, aren’t they? Might be, but thus far the silence is deafening and just about all we hear is the story of a courageous (and perhaps complicated man, I’m looking forward to reading a full and honest biography) Justin Fashanu. Has nothing changed since that sad and shameful day in 1998?
That was 1998, it’s now 2011… Is all that can be said is, “Stay in the closet, the fans don’t like gay players and they will taunt you until you hang yourself? It will end your chances with the big clubs? It will cost you big money with the sponsors?”
I wish I could say that Ravages is a story about days long gone by. Sadly, I know better.