en English

Footballing legend, Neville Southall, joins Dr Helen and Marianne to talk about equality and why it is so important for those who have a platform to use it for good. Neville talks about the reasons why he regularly hands over his twitter account, with its 170.8k followers to minority groups to help get their message out and why, in order for society to be fair, everyone needs to have a voice.

If you have been affected by any of the topics discussed in our podcast, and would like to get in touch, please contact us via the Help Centre. You can also contact us on social media where you will find us at @GenderGP on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Links:

Twitter: @NevilleSouthall
Facebook: Rainbow Toffees

Neville Southall’s latest book: Mind Games, the Ups and Downs of Life and Football is available to purchase now.

 

The GenderGP Podcast

A footballing legend’s take on Trans Rights – Neville Southall

 

Hello, this is Dr Helen Webberley. Welcome to our GenderGP Podcast, where we will be discussing some of the issues affecting the trans and non-binary community in the world today, together with my co-host Marianne Oakes, a trans woman herself, and our head of therapy.

 

Dr Helen Webberley:
So, Neville Southall, that’s out of the way. Excited to have you on. Tell us who you are, what you do and whatever are you doing on the GenderGP podcast?

Neville Southall:
Well, what I was, was a footballer for Everton for a long time, probably 20 odd years. And what I do now, I work in a special school in Ebbw Vale, which is, I know it’s not too far from you. And what, why I’ve come on really is because I don’t know nothing really. So I’m on here to learn a bit as well. And I think every time I go on something or I talk to people, then I learn a bit more. And as you know, good me going on Twitter and talking about transgender issues or anything like that. I don’t think that’s right. I think what you can do is support and help when you can. But the main thing is to get the right people to talk about the right things. So you can educate people because it’s like anything else, any minority group needs to be understood, and it needs to have a fair platform to be able to do that. And the way the media sets up well, in most countries, it doesn’t give everybody a fair view. So my platform is really to raise awareness of what people do and to give them a chance to actually say what they believe in. And I think everybody should have that chance.

Dr Helen Webberley:
A couple of weeks ago, you very kindly gave Marianne, our head of therapies, sole access to your Twitter account which obviously has massive following for your followers to ask all the questions. So, what’s your interest in minority groups? Why have you decided to do this, to help people learn? What’s your interest? Why you?

Neville Southall:
Well, mainly because I can. And I thought, as a society, we were brought up to help everybody. So when I first sort of went on Twitter and it was all because a lad was, you know, really homophobic, but he was obviously denying he was gay. So we had long chats and long chats. And eventually I came on Twitter and asked people what I should be saying, because coming from the football world, it was never talked about in nice friendly terms to be gay. It was completely the opposite. So I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say to him. So I was looking for advice, really. And then from that, it just sort of moved into the transgender. I met a few trans people and I listened to their store region. And I thought they were horrendous. I don’t understand why anybody in country should go through what they have to go through to be themselves. And I think surely we bring up our kids to believe that they can be themselves because otherwise, how can they reach their potential? And I think that’s what we all strive for, isn’t it? Everybody tells us we got to reach our potential, but then we have tons of laws, tons of stupid people, stupid government people who say, oh, but you can’t do that. You’ve got to live within our rules. But if their rules are so constrictive that people can’t be themselves within reason, then that’s wrong. We should be bringing our people up on caring enough about our people to reach for full potential, surely. And if you can’t be who you are, you’ll never be as successful as you should be.

Marianne Oakes:
It doesn’t seem that complicated, you know, that anybody in society could aspire to them values and cut that concept that to be the best we can be, we need the environment to allow us to be the best we can be. And why would we constrain it by our narrow thinking? So yeah, I just agree with everything you said there.

Neville Southall:
I think there is reasons. I think, and I know it might sound controversial, but I do think one of the reasons is religion. I do think it’s a generational thing as well is because, you know, when you, when you look back through through time, excuse me, the amount of talk in people that was very small. They never showed their feelings. It wasn’t a dumb thing to show your feelings. So you know, transgender people have been around for millions of years. So it’s not a new thing, but everything in the old days was shut in the cupboard. You know, if you look up places like Bedlam and places like that, literally shut people away with mental health issues, with disabilities, they shut them away because they, one, they didn’t want to deal with their feelings and two, they didn’t want to deal with their problems. So they were shut away. And now I think we have a version of that with transgender people and some of the other minorities, because people want to shut their way and they want to, well, you can’t go in there, you can’t do it. You can’t do that. Well, we should have a society. We’d be saying, right, okay, who are you? Okay. Yeah, you’re this. Okay, fine. Go and do what you gotta do here. Why should things be a barrier? And things should be celebrated. So if you want to be yourself, surely that’s the best thing that could happen to you. So why should we go against that? That to me it’s complete and utter bonkers.

Dr Helen Webberley:
Marianne, I know you’re going to have stuff to say about this because we talk about this so often, don’t we, that people who are trans or in any minority sometimes feel that they have to hide and that they can’t express themselves. They can’t be themselves. They can’t show the world who they really are. And that’s what Neville’s saying, Isn’t it? And I’m sure you’ve come across that a lot.

Marianne Oakes:
Just to kinda, you know, that metaphorical closet, isn’t there keepers in the closet. The truth of the matter is I think what we’re going through today is the door’s open whether we like it or not. And there are a small vocal minority of people, unfortunately, with big platforms trying to shut the door again. And all it’s doing is creating a hostile environment. And I think if I’m understanding you correctly, Neville, you know, you’ve got probably a bigger platform than some people. And you’ve been offering that platform to get the people stuck in this closet, a voice to try and get through that small minority. And I just wish there was a few more people that, that could see that because there’s nothing to be frightened of. I think that’s the bottom line.

Neville Southall:
But don’t you think it goes back to the same old things? Unless you understand something, lots of people are frightened of it. You know, at one time people were frightened of fire.

Marianne Oakes:
Yeah.

Neville Southall:
There’s lots of things that people will find out. But I do think, and I have this with football a lot, people don’t care. We make a big thing out of people really not–you know, they don’t understand that–because I never understood, But I do think it’s because people don’t sit down and explain stuff or they don’t have the platform to explain stuff. So it’s not that people are antitrans, because some of them, my followers, are usually pretty good to be fair. So we don’t have many problems at all. So I think the majority of people just want to get up in the morning and live their life. If you live next door to them, they’re not really bothered. As long as you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you. And in an ideal world, all become friends and look after each other. The problem you’ve got is it’s reflected in the idiot that has just come out the White House, and our prime minister, people like (unclear 08:18) who divide the country. Now, when you have a post in charge to your country who is set out to divide it, to get his party in, and other people who divided it, whether it’s through race or gender, that’s not a society that anybody really wants to be part of. So we need to go back to a different way of doing stuff and that is to be inclusive. And that means to listen to people, to care for everybody, not just the people who you think should be cared for, or the people that you like, or the people who are your mates down the road. A society that works is one that works for everybody and not just for a few. And I think we are seeing a shift in the world, and I think trans people went out in the end. There’s going to be some major obstacles because sport is one of them. And that’s one of the other reasons why I’m interested, because I don’t see anybody doing anything about the sport really apart from trying to shut the door on it, hope it goes away and then deal with it in 10 years time or whenever. So I think we have, there’s going to be a lot of pressure put on people to actually sort out the way forward for trans people, because you’re going to have some outstanding athletes and they, after some time, put them into a category, but also here is, but she shouldn’t go in not cause that’s not fair. He shouldn’t go in that because it’s not fair. Whatever transgender person goes into any race or tournament or whatever, they’re abiding by the rules. So they do most perfectly right and natural for them. But there seems to be some other people on the sidelines who particularly don’t want that to happen. Now these are usually ex-athletes or dare I say it middle-aged people who don’t have a clue about life? Who’ve just had that nice, quiet life, go to a nice restaurant every Saturday night and having a nice life and then going, oh, hang on a minute. What’s that? Well, we don’t want to do that? We can’t have any of that stuff. So I think there’s going to be, the more and more transgender people, the more opportunities will be, the more battles you’re left to have, but in the end, everything will win through because that’s what’s going to happen. Because football clubs, for instance, you’re gonna have a problem. Because if they have a lad who’s come and he’s somebody who wants to be himself and take them off to the girls’ team. You’ve got to think about insurance. You’ve got to think about, you know, the capability you have to make decisions. And at the moment, most sports are most people in life, are quite content not to make a decision. They’re quite happy to allow things to just ride along until you have to do something. And the transgender people, and I might be talking for you now, want to live their own lives, want to have the same opportunities as everyone else, want to be treated as everybody else. And then we have a third group who think that’s for some reason, ridiculous that somebody should live their lives themselves. So you’ve got a group of people who were living their lives to be (unclear 11:38) and don’t want them to succeed. Well, we should obviously be all inclusive, and not be bitter and twisted. I don’t which one I (unclear 11:49).

Marianne Oakes:
I’ve said to Helen many a time, if it hadn’t had been for sport, it wouldn’t have been worth me going to school. Cause I was no good at anything else. And you know, obviously there was not the discussion about the inclusive sport, you know, back in the day, but we default to elite sport, Neville, when we talk about sports. So when we start talking about, we shouldn’t have, you know, trans women competing against women, it’s not fair, you know? I would not deny that it’s going to be a problem that we need to have regulation to make sure we keep it a level playing field to some degree. But the actual impact of that is that you get an eight year old trans girl kicking a ball around with the girl’s team, that nobody has a problem with, suddenly being demonized and the parents being influenced by what’s being said at the top. And to me, the sports and authorities really need to get a grip of grassroots and the rest will filter through. And if somebody, a young child, grew to be an elite athlete, then it’s not just in their interests that the sport accepts them, it’s in the public’s interest, because if they’re the best person at that sport, then society’s gonna miss out on that. So sport, to me, it has got to just be inclusive because we’re going to miss out, you know, potentially on some of the best athletes.

Neville Southall:
We’re talking about having sensible conversations, aren’t we? Or discussions. And if you look at, say Prime Minister’s Questions times now, and (unclear 13:40) will say summat to Johnson and Johnson will say yeah, but you didn’t do that. That’s an argument that goes on the playground. That’s not what we want in politicians. That’s not what we want from our, our leaders of sports. Our leaders of sport should sit around the table with everybody and say, right, egos aside, agendas aside, which is the best way forward? But unfortunately we seem to struggle in all walks of life to be able to do that. We don’t seem to have a grown up discussion about anything, you know, and race is the same thing. We don’t have grown up discussions around race or immigration or anything. So what we, what we tend to end up with is, is fractions that are fighting each other and nothing ever changes. The thing that will change for transgender people the more and more there are, the more and more pressure they’ll put on people, the more and more they’ll have to talk. So I can’t see it in the future as being a sensible conversation. I could see a speaking at the weight of (unclear 14:45) you feel like the weight of people are coming through will force different things. And I’m really disappointed in football in lots of ways, because all the ladies teams, we accept that they’re gay. We accept that lots of, you know, have girlfriends and are married. Nobody bats an eyelid with us. So why is it more acceptable for the women’s team and not the men’s team? And until we have a gay man come out in football, which will happen because there’s no two ways about it, either the tabloid press or we create an environment where he feels comfortable to come out in, that will happen. And, you know, once the first gay man comes out, there’ll be a lot more. And then eventually following that, the transgender people hopefully will have the same confidence to voice their gender as a gay man. And then that will push it too. So not only we should be looking at how we handle the first gay person coming out in football, also the transgender people, because there’s loads playing football tons and tons of them, you know, but they get too much abuse. And I think to me, it starts at the top and it starts with your lead of your country. He’s got to build a society for everybody. And we have an idiot in charge who is clearly homophobic and racist and sexist. So we don’t have much of a leadership role at the moment. So you’d like to think that somebody would come in and do what he’s supposed to do for the country, which is bringing the country together and make things happen. And I think I hate hearing stories about transgender, the way they treat it. And that’s one of the reasons why I always stick up for them, because I never knew the kind of lives and the kind of things they went through to get where they needed to get through. And I’m thinking, well, it’s not a 10 minute decision, is it? It’s a long time of agonising over what you think, what you feel, your environment, the things you actually practically have to do. And only, and I see that a lot, the practicalities of coming to translate it, is immense. And then people go, yeah, but you chose to do that. Maybe it wasn’t a two second, oh yeah. I got up this morning. I think I’ll be a trans woman today. Well, it’s a long process and I think that’s where the education should come from. And that’s what I found the most interest in was. I never knew what it took to be a trans person. I thought, okay, you’d always sort of knew inside. And then one day something happened and then you went, okay, I’m going to do it. But the practicalities of it just immense. And I think that’s where the education should be, about the practicalities. You know, if I was going to do it, where would I find size 12 shoes? So there’s all the practicalities that you’d never think about until you actually sit down and think about it. And I find that, you know, I find that side of it as interesting as anything else, because it’s really, when you sit down and think about what it takes, I think it takes immense courage and immense determination and immense self-belief. And yet all these people do is knock you for having them qualities. And I think that’s wrong.

Dr Helen Webberley:
You speak with such clarity. I’m sitting here humbled actually, but listening to you, because what you say is so true in your own language and your own style of speaking, and it’s just beautiful what you’re saying and what I’m hearing actually, it goes back down to education. Doesn’t it? And I don’t think, as I’ve been listening to you talk, is that educating the leaders, isn’t it? So educating the politicians, it’s educating the head of the football association, educating the head of schools so that they can then take their rules and policies that you were talking about, which we need to sharpen up and pave the way for people. And then what we’ve got to do. And also the education is not only to the leaders and to the heads of the teams, if you know what I mean, but also to the people themselves, where do they buy size 12 shoes from? Because they don’t know, it’s not obvious because you don’t see the ad that tells you where to buy size 12 shoes from. So it’s all about that education, isn’t it. And I’m thinking about the lad who’s playing in the football team at the moment, and who’s listening to you in awe and with great respect, who is actually gay or is actually trans. And they’re going, that is me he’s talking about, inside their head, you know? So what advice would you give to that lad? Who’s, you know, some (unclear 19:50). What advice would you give to that lad that’s listening in right now?

Neville Southall:
Be true to yourself because you can’t live your life any other way and be realistic enough to know that there’ll be bumps in the road, but there’s bumps in the road, whether you’re straight, gay, trans, whatever, it isn’t that there’s bumps in the road. So if you’re going to live your life, live it the way you want to live it, or else you’re never going to be happy. So even if it upsets people around yet, or even if it means upsetting the team, or even if it means you make a big changes in your life, at the end of the day, you’ve got to come in your house and look in the mirror because you have to live with yourself more than anybody else. And if you’re happy with yourself, I think you’ll have a good life. If you’re not happy with yourself, you’ll always be there thinking I should maybe do this, maybe do that. For me itt’s about making a decision on what you want and how you want to go about your life because only you know inside your head how you think. And I think that’s the most important thing is for me to be myself looking at now, if I’m perfectly honest, I don’t really give a shit whether anybody likes me or not. It’s not my problem that I can’t control anybody else. The only thing I could ever control is me. I can’t control people’s reactions to me. I can’t control what everybody else does. So I focus on what I do and what I believe in. And I listen to everybody and I take what I can take in, and the bits, I can’t use, I throw away. But in life you’ve got to, but if somebody criticizes you, there’s no point in fighting straight back. You, you think about that criticism. Cause sometimes they do have a point. So you have to listen to them. And then if you still think it’s rubbish at the end of the day you throw it away. But if you think there’s a slight grain of truth, and then we could take that or you take that advice and take it in, but it’s a hard decision to make on your own when you’re younger. So the thing is, I think is, is that there’s lots of good helplines out there now for LGBT people. There’s lots of organizations. So I would, I would say it’s difficult because it depends on how your mom and dad are. And if your mum and dad are, you know, open-minded and sounded and happy for you to be one of you want to be, then you can go and talk to your parents. Maybe there’s somebody in the family you can talk to or you go on or you talk to them, their advice places. But most of all, just, just be yourself because that’s the best person to be.

Dr Helen Webberley:
Good advice, Marianne?

Marianne Oakes:
It definitely – I don’t know why. I just feel compelled to ask you this question. You know, Helen said about that young boy, on the football pitch and I was a young child dare I say at one time, unlike say I only had sport, I was not academic. And it was the thing that allowed me to hide, actually. The question that came into my head Neville was could you have honestly gone onto the football pitch where there any kind of distraction in your mind and beeen the best you could have been? So few let’s just say there was a young child who was gay or trans trying to play football. We talk about how dysphoria in particular stops them concentrating, that we don’t do very well at school. In many cases, we either do exceptionally well because we threw ourselves into it. Or we just struggled to take in the information because we’ve got this nagging thing going on in our head and we couldn’t listen. And this internal, so, you know, as a goal key for Everton, you couldn’t have gone to that pitch with that nagging thought. What would your teammates think if it was, if they knew how I really felt, you know, you would never have aspired to that level. Would that be fair to say?

Neville Southall:
Yeah, but we, we learned strategies around it and I think that’s the other thing. We don’t give kids decent strategies because if, if I’m going to play, whether I’m straight, gay, whatever I am, I still got problems. I still might get caught up in traffic. I still might have a row with my missus in the morning. So for me, it was making a point and it took me a while to say, right, okay. When I get up tomorrow morning, Saturday morning, nothing’s going to bother me. So whether I have a row, whether I get stuck in traffic, I’m going to make sure that I play well, because I’m going to defy all of them things and I’m going to play well in spite of that. So in the end, I’d be looking for one mud pie, I’d be looking at (unclear 24:37) bring it on. Whatever trouble you want to bring on, bring on because once I get to the game, my head switches. So I think for me, it was, I found it easy to go work, home, training, and I just put them in boxes if you like in my head. And I think when you go to school as a child, then you just, if you can break it down and go, right, science, done, play fine. So you’ve learned strategies to cope. We need trouble, look at everything. But mainly if we’re going to have kids who are going to be able to cope in life, well, there’ll be a need to give them the strategies to be able to cope in life. And I think part of that is, is when you go into mental health issues, people are unbelievably quick to stick a label on you, but they’re twice as slow to give you solutions and practical things to help you. And another thing, somewhere along the line, we’ve got to go more into solution-based stuff rather than sticking labels on people and I think we need to look at everything and do things a slightly different way, more pro people, if you like, and, and give them strategies and ideas of how to cope.

Dr Helen Webberley:
And I think they’ll be alright. I think, you know, it is, Marianne is talking about that horrible noise of gender dysphoria, which we’ve heard from young people is terribly, terribly distracting and noisy and painful, and really hard to concentrate on anything when that amount of noise is going on. But you’re right. I am imagining, as you’re talking of a situation where you’re in a classroom with a teacher who is there to protect you, so somebody who understands you, understands what, who you are and why you’ve got that horrible noise going on. And then who then makes that classroom a safe place for you to implement and learn some coping strategies with that noise. And I think that goes back to what you were talking about a little bit earlier about, again, the leaders, the teachers, the politicians, the ones who are making the rules, the ones that are supposed to keep us safe. And you know, you mentioned mum and dad as well. You know, young people, who’ve got mum and dad who understand are in such a much better place. And so we need teachers who understand we need moms that understand we need politicians that understand. And then that might allow that young person to have those coping strategies that you’re talking about, which are so important if they’re going to manage their day or get through their day, you know?

Neville Southall:
If we’re going to manage life, we all need coping strategies, I think are the, be all end all of everything. Because you know, the way I do, I tried loads of things in football like to get, to get to where they got a successful strategy. They don’t always work for everybody. So you need to find things that help you individually. And, and the reason why I think it’s so important in schools is because at class might have 30 kids that it’s very hard for the teacher to make a real relationship with them, 30 kids, because the next class you’ve got another 30 kids, then another 30 kids, and he might have the same thing kids back. So I think part of it is that we look at education as academic purely academic, and we just leave the person behind. And slowly but surely we are looking at people’s mental health, look at the people’s wellbeing. So I wonder whether that’s a generational thing, whether, you know, some of the old cargo are moving on as a new, new breed of people who are coming in. And because the university is a place that are full of people with great ideas. And yet we still tend to go, but we’ve always done it that way. Yeah, of course it’s never bloody worked, so let’s try something different. And I think it is common. And I think things do change, but for everybody, they should be an individual learning. Well, it is an individual learning plan, you know, in our school, we try and take each individual and work out what we want to be, you know, where they want to go, what we see their future is. And I think if you’ve got 30 kids in a class, it’s very hard to do that. So I think it’s great to (unclear 29:03) kids in one place and expect them all to cope, but it don’t. So the big schools it’s, you know, it’s a super structure, but you lose a lot of kids in it. Now, when you have a local primary school that we brought down the road, then I think you can build that family atmosphere and you know, what’s wrong straight away. I think we’ll go back eventually to maybe, I mean, smaller local schools and they’ll become more successful because I’ll know the kids then they also got to do that is, is make sure that teachers (unclear 29:39). And again, we go back to the same thing and you don’t want the care system the same. And it’ll really, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a politician talk about transgender issues in parliament. I I’ve never heard one talk about sex workers and yet most of them probably know them all. So I think, within a pandemic, we’re talking about furloughs and yet every one of them sex workers is going to be as coach to the clients, as anybody else is ever going to be. And yet we’ve just completely ignored them. And there must be hundreds of thousands of sex workers who relied on that relationships for their income. And all of a sudden you’re telling people to stay home. Well, they have no choice, but to go out. So why did we look after them? Why did we say, okay, well, look, we’ll give you this because that would have the obvious you get to cut down the risk of a pandemic and another virus spreading. It’s just common sense, but because it’s something that doesn’t win votes and is seen to be seedy or whatever in their eyes, they won’t touch it. And I think that’s why we need to have grown up politicians who talk about everything. And we wouldn’t be having these discussions still if we have some real proper politicians who believe in their community. I think we see so many career politicians who see it as a job, and not to help the community. I think that’s a real problem. We just need real people in parliament.

Marianne Oakes:
I do just have to qualify that I have heard MPs talk about transitioning in parliament. Fortunately, they were talking about Helen, one or more MPs, in a negative way because that’s, that’s all they will see. This is a negative problem. I’ve yet to hear a positive.

Neville Southall:
Yep. We do points scored in politics. We don’t do sensible grown up discussions. If one says black, the other says white, the only reason is because they go against each other.

Marianne Oakes:
Well, one of the things I was going to say, no, you said something earlier. I speak to, I’ve spoken to quite a bit about this. At times when I’m online, you know, if I’m having discussions outside of the real world, you’d think that when I step out onto the street, everybody’s going to be touch me with a 10 foot barge pole. You know what I mean? That I would be some kind of pariah, a monster. I’ve got two heads, but actually when I do go out and I meet people when they’re going to, you know organizations, for whatever reason, even if it’s just going into a store where people really don’t care.

Neville Southall:
There’s no shockable value anymore. It has to be something ridiculous for kids to get worked up about it. They’ve seen everything. You know, we’ve gone from a generation of seeing nothing and keeping everything under wraps to so much exposure that the shockable value is not there anymore. So when you walk in as a transgender lady and they go, and? They’ve seen millions, what you feel when you walk out the door sometimes is not really happening. When somebody looks at you, they’re probably thinking, (unclear 33:23). They may be looking at you, but their minds are a million miles away. We’ve all done it. Oh, you know, we can be a funny look but they might be miles away. So I think sometimes we get caught up in us and they’re caught up in them between, it just looks funny situation. So I think it’s just completely different. And to look at life from somebody else’s perspective is a really good thing. I think we don’t. We don’t teach kids enough as well. Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes before you start knocking what they’ve done. I’ve been caught a few times doing that (unclear 33:57). You know, Ronaldo, I hated Ronaldo, I didn’t think he–he wasn’t my kind of thing. But then when I started reading what he was doing about his charity stuff and all that, I’m thinking, you know what, maybe I was wrong. So everybody learns, don’t they? So it’s just, you don’t want to get on with everybody, but in the main people don’t care. People do not care what’s going on? The people who chose to go on internet and put stupid comments are basically sad, lonely, cowardly people who don’t have a proper life. Because if they believed as much in themselves as transgender people believe in themselves, it would be a million miles afar their laptop or computer. They’d be doing their own thing.

Dr Helen Webberley:
Going back to the coping strategies a bit. So my nephew is an engineer. So he’s graduated from university and engineer, and now he’s on site on the construction sites, but he’s in the office rather than on the site. But when he’s with the lads and they’re all talking and I don’t know, cause I don’t know football, never actually watched a match all the way through. I imagine it’s the same, but you know that lads attitude of, you know, the jokes, the LGBT jokes, the gay jokes, the trans jokes, you know, that lads were beefing around. And my nephew hears them and he doesn’t like it, you know, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s quite a brave thing to go into that (unclear 35:35) when they’re all talking about it, then all having a laugh to go in there and go lads, not appropriate. So when you talk about, you know, coping strategies when things have always happened that way, which is what you say, you know, it’s that place, isn’t it? Where it’s quite safe to check a few, you know, bad jokes about–So what about, what about people who are in that group who don’t want to joke that way? They don’t want to join in, but the rest of the lads are perhaps otherwise, you’re going to make it look a bit of a (unclear 36:03) if you don’t kind of thing. What are the coping strategies there, do you think?

Neville Southall:
Well, I think there’s one. I think if I was going to walk into a room where they were all gay people, then I would say, oh, I’m here, this is what I am. So if you’re going to go and do it, do it somewhere else, don’t do it in front of mine. But I do think the company should also have rules and guidelines where that’s inappropriate. (unclear 36:31) Lads banter. Yes. There’s all that. But I think it also comes down to understanding. And that is if they know somebody who’s offended by that, excuse me, then you don’t do it out of respect for the person. So it was a difference between people acting the group, but there’s a people are people act individually and I’ve seen that quite a lot. Whereas people go, yeah, I don’t like this. Don’t like that. And then next minute you see somebody, but the same person goes, well, you were there before. Yeah. But he’s all right. See, it all depends who, you know, you know what I say? Somebody goes (unclear 37:19) I don’t like black people. And what about him? Yeah. But he’s one of us, isn’t he? So they all have their own, I suppose, they all have their own values of who people are and that’s why we need education. And really, I think it’s really difficult at times to, to put your values on somebody else if they haven’t got them values. I think it is difficult, but I don’t know the actual coping strategy apart from, look, I don’t want it in my presence and if it carries on, then I’ll take it further. But then he’s balancing that up with he’s going to go and tell the boss. So he doesn’t want to ostracize himself from the group. He wants to be part of the group, but he wants the group to respect him. And that’s where it probably, that’s where the discussion needs to be had. But because we don’t have discussions like that, that’s the problem that nobody has discussions.

Dr Helen Webberley:
No. And what it goes back to is what we’ve actually been saying the whole of this last half hour or so. It goes back to leadership and to trust our leaders or the (unclear 38:24) to look after us and to set the rules and the boundaries by which we are acting. And in order for them to do that, we need the education, because education will remove that fear that we’re talking about of the fear of the unknown and allow those leaders to set the rules and the boundaries which will provide protection for their people, the community that is within that leadership team, and allow them to live their own lives. So all the things that we’ve been discussing, it goes under the same kind of concept, doesn’t it, Marianne? Which we’ve talked about so, so often, isn’t it?

Marianne Oakes:
I think Neville hit on the crux of it here as well. I think businesses–you know, any emploter has to look after all its employees, not selected few. That, you know, if you’ve employed somebody to do a job, you should be able to come in and do (unclear 39:14). So if somebody walked into a room and some homophobic banter was going on there’s gotta be boundaries. I don’t, you know, we’ve gotta be careful we don’t crush team building, but there’s gotta be boundaries. There’s gotta boundaries of acceptability. And I think it takes brave people to set them boundaries, but they’ve got to have the backup of the policies within the company. You know, if awaiting an establishment, even in a pub, there’s gotta be boundaries of acceptability. That at some point, if somebody said that’s going too far, that the (unclear 39:49) would say, yeah, you’re right. Actually, can we go off in a different direction?

Neville Southall:
We have to get people to create an environment where it’s acceptable to talk about everything without an agenda. And I think that’s the biggest issue for me. Why should somebody walk out the door and somebody has a go. There’s no reason for that. But I do think it comes down to the type of society that we’ve actually built. And the internet does play a part in it because it’s so easy to hide behind a computer and have a go at people. And the way the press, the setup, they go after people and they are very divisive. Then we have the government who are divisive. Then we have (unclear 40:33) who are divisive. We’ve got Trump who’s divisive. We’ve got lots of people who’ve been divisive. And I think what minority groups suffer from is people who use them for their own agenda. Not necessarily what’s good for the country. And what’s good for the people. It’s all about their own agendas and they have been used so much in the past five or six years. It’s been unbelievable. I think. So we need to have a deep kind of politics, but you know, if I’m coming to see you and I want to take the piss out here, we need to know where we stand, don’t we? Because we’re going to have a but of laugh. I need to know. Well, so, so maybe we need to have a discussion about, you know, what you find offensive, or what you don’t find offensive, a normal discussion. So you’ve taken a piss at me. I don’t mind that. The problem is we never get to that point. It’s because society never mentions what’s acceptable. They’ll say it’s homophobic. They’ll say it’s racist. They’ll say it’s sexist. And then people go, okay, lots of people go, but what can we say? And that to me is a real issue is what can we say? And what can we do? And that’s everywhere. And I don’t mean like geometry or anything like that. I mean, it’s, it’s people are more fearful because they’re not sure what to say, and they’re not sure what is racist? What is not, what is homophobic? What is not. And I think it does come back to education, but also it comes back to the practicalities of everyday. If you know what I mean. If I were you, I would probably be all right. I’ll just take the piss out of you. If you didn’t like you would tell me when you have that. That to me is my judgment of you. You don’t want to, you don’t want to ever upset anybody. So you wanna have a chat and you want to respect their views. The problem with society is it cause we’ve all got varying tolerance levels and nobody knows what to do? So I think within the education, it’s gotta be down to whoever you deal with, treat with respect and dignity, get to know them. And then you find your own naturally through your relationship. And I think that to me is a, is a better way instead of going oh, he’s gay. Well, okay, that must mean this, this and this. It’s not, I don’t see you as a trans woman. I just see you as a person. And then we have our relationship. It doesn’t matter if you have three heads or two heads. To me, if we’re going to have a relationship, we just talk. And then when you have a relationship and we just chat normal stuff. And then within that, we build up a nice relationship and we know where we stand. Now I’m trying to get over there, making sense or not.

Marianne Oakes:
What I want to say all the way through there, Neville, and you may disagree with me here, and I’m happy for you to do that. And you can take the piss out of me if you do. But I think football is a really good example. I’ll start disclosure, massive (unclear 43:54) fans, all my sons are. It’s the things that’s bonded us together. And we can go out, hey, we can fall out with each other over football. We’ve got our favorites within our own team. You know, we can argue over performance. It doesn’t damage anybody. It doesn’t damage our relationship. And we walk away from it, no worse or better off than we were before or in the heat of the battle we’re going to understood. There’s going to be people we don’t like, because it’s how we say, off the pitch. When we meet them on a personal level, we don’t treat them like we’re on the pitch and you can fall out. You can angry, you can laugh and then you can carry on and think no less or more of the person than when you start the conversation. And if we could do that more with other things, I just feel it would be a more, a better society, shall we say?

Neville Southall:
I think so, but I would say it comes down to individual relationships, doesn’t it? That’s what it boils down to is knowing people. And I think because people don’t know many transgender people and there is, that is sometimes a lack of education. Then you are on your own. Everybody’s got their own philosophy and organizations are blown philosophies. And I find religion one of them that I find hard to take. (unclear 45:20) But if God was tolerant, it wouldn’t matter who’s who, as long as people are themselves and love each other, it doesn’t matter. And I think some, so religion’s got a bit of a base on that for me. And then they go and do what they want to do. But I do think I want people to be able to have a grownup discussion.

Marianne Oakes:
That’s really what I’m saying is that I don’t want people–People don’t have to like me, Neville. People don’t have to agree with my politics. They don’t have to agree with my choices in life. Well, if I’m not affecting that, if I’m not impacting their life, why, why do they feel they’ve got to follow me around on Twitter?

Neville Southall:
Because there’s sad people. That’s what they are. They’re sad cowards. I get loads. Yes. To me, you’re wasting your time doing this cause it’s not gonna affect me because most of the banter they have, mostly abuses, is pretty shit to be fair. There’s no imagination in it. You know, it’s just boring. It’s boring abuse. Now, if they came up with something, that’d be funny or a bit different, I’d be all right. But their banter is just shit.

Marianne Oakes:
Yes.

Neville Southall:
If there’s any good it’d be great. But now most of the time I just either block it or I just retweet it and I let the fans slaughter them.

Marianne Oakes:
That’s a question that I would have for you, Neville, if you don’t mind, is how do you find the Everton fans respond to you defending or being an ally of the LGBTQ community?

Neville Southall:
They don’t mind. So I put on Twitter once, would you be happy if an (unclear 47:16) came out as gay? And what I actually tweeted back was I would be happy if he came out as a footballer first. Like I say, I don’t think, 99% of people don’t care.

Marianne Oakes:
No, no.

Neville Southall:
They don’t. And what I find is that we all have the same viewpoint is that so, you know, I do stuff, the rainbow trophies, you know, and I think they could be used more by the club, others. At the same time, I think people don’t really bother. I think, you know, if we were all purple, nobody would ever have a problem.

 

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