As anyone who has endured the awkwardness of adolescence knows: voices change. Sopranos can deepen into baritones and single warblings can accumulate into a symphony of synergy.
Our collective message also evolves over time. In the 1980s, the slogan Silence = Death became an important reminder to raise our voices before they withered into the unforgiving ether of time and neglect. Loved ones were dying in droves and our so-called support systems (the healthcare industry, the government, etc.) failed in the fight against the plague. We needed to speak up, to scream out, and to awaken the passion of an endangered generation.
Since then, we have amplified our resonance, piercing the mainstream and establishing our truth, whether it be gay, straight, bi, trans or elsewhere on the rainbow spectrum.
But representation can drown in a sea of digital disinformation. Social media is the ultimate double-edged sword; it gives us a platform and tears us down simultaneously. Toxic billionaires autotune the macro conversation to stroke their own shortcomings, requiring us to yell even harder for equality.
But sometimes, the loudest signal is silence.
Protests abounded at this year’s World Cup. FIFA allowed Qatar to host the earth’s biggest sporting event, despite that nation’s abysmal gay rights record. Being queer is a crime in Qatar, and even the hint of inclusion ruffled organizers’ prejudiced plumage. Teams weren’t allowed to wear armbands emblazoned with the message “One Love” – a slap in the face of the LGBTQ+ community.
So, Germany slapped back.
Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) voiced their opposition to the armband ban without saying a word. The squad members simply plastered their hands over their faces and kept cacophonously quiet.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement,” DFB declared. “Human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”
The gesture was so much more substantial than a simple jersey accessory. The team was wearing their morality on their sleeves.
“We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.”
Their silence was deafening, and it will echo well into the future of organized sports. Your move, FIFA.
Photo: Facebook @BleacherReportFootball
Last modified: November 29, 2022