Wolfsburg captain fights homophobia with rainbow armband

Wolfsburg captain Josuha Guilavogui wore a rainbow-coloured armband on Saturday for the first time as part of the Bundesliga club's efforts to fight homophobia in football.

Wolfsburg captain fights homophobia with rainbow armband
Wolfsburg captain Josuha Guilavogui wore a rainbow band on his left arm. Photo: Peter Steffen / dpa
The 27-year-old French midfielder led Wolfsburg to a shock 2-1 win over Schalke, last season's runners-up in Germany's top flight, as the rainbow armband made it's debut in a German league match.
It is part of a club initiative started in the women's team by Swedish international Nilla Fischer.
“As a club we stand for a tolerant society,” explained Wolfsburg's general manager Jörg Schmadtke. “That's why we're not only taking this stance against discrimination now, but across the whole season and in all of our teams, sending out a clear signal that we stand for diversity.”
The captains of all Wolfsburg's mens, womens and youth teams will wear the rainbow armbands during matches and Guilavogui says footballers have a duty as role models.
“We footballers serve as an example and we want to show that everyone is welcome in the stadium and in the club,” said the Frenchman. “Regardless of your skin colour or sex, who you like or if you have a 
physical disability and whatever your religion. “Football is for everyone.”
However, homosexuality in men's football remains largely taboo. Former West Ham, Everton, Aston Villa and Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who retired in 2013 and came out in 2014, was the first and is so far only Bundesliga footballer to have done so. 


Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on Wednesday agreed a draft bill that would compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination in the armed forces between 1955 and 2000.

Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination
A German flag is sewed to the uniform of a Bundeswehr soldier in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Under the proposed law, which needs to be approved by parliament, soldiers
who were convicted by military courts for being gay, demoted or who otherwise
saw their careers damaged because of their sexual orientation, would receive a
“symbolic amount” of €3,000.

“We cannot erase the suffering inflicted upon these people,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the RND newspaper group. “But we want
to send a signal” and “turn the page on a dark chapter in the history of the
armed forces”, she said.

The compensation would apply to soldiers from the Bundeswehr, which was
created in West Germany in 1955, and to troops from former East Germany's
National People's Army, founded in 1956.

READ ALSO: More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe

The defence ministry estimates that about 1,000 people would be eligible
for a payout.

Military court judgments against soldiers for engaging in consensual gay sex acts would also be quashed under the draft bill.

It took until 1969 for homosexuality to be decriminalised in West Germany, but discrimination against gay service people continued for much longer, including after Germany was reunified in 1990.

Gay soldiers could expect to be overlooked for promotions or removed from positions of responsibility, with senior officers often deeming them a “security risk” or a bad example to others.

That ended with a law change in 2000 that officially protected gay, lesbian
and bisexual people from discrimination in the armed forces.