Vacation Photos of Football Players Hermoso and Rodriguez Spark Chilling Wave of Lesbophobia and Machismo During Pride Month

As summer heatwaves begin to grip Southern Europe in yet another climate crisis year, EL*C is outraged by the storm of lesbophobic comments engulfing the Spanish internet. This wave of hatred was directed at two football players, Jenni Hermoso and Misa Rodriguez, after they posted a vacation photo together during Pride Month.  

Jenni Hermoso and Misa Rodriguez have won the World Cup, the National League, and numerous matches in recent months. Yet, lesbophobic critics responded with absurd calls to “take the scissors out of the locker room” and “shut down” the Women’s National Football Team. Lesbophobia is evident when, despite their incredible achievements, two women going on holiday together triggers such extreme and hateful reactions, including calls to dismantle the national team. 

Jenni Hermoso stands proudly as a lesbian, while Misa Rodriguez’s personal life is not known. Whether they are a couple or not is irrelevant; lesbophobia is intolerable. These attacks are a stark reminder of why Pride Month is not just a celebration, but a fierce fight for our rights. 

Let’s be reminded that Pride began with the Stonewall riots, sparked by the defiant cry of an unnamed butch lesbian who, while enduring police violence, shouted at lesbians, gay men and trans persons inside the Stonewall Inn, “Why don’t you do something?” Many witnesses credit this call to action as that which ignited the resistance that changed the course of LGBTQ+ history. It was lesbian courage, and the courage of countless others, that laid the foundation for the freedoms we continue to fight for today. 

Yet, lesbians remain largely invisible in the broader struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. Our histories are erased, our contributions to social justice movements ignored. We must recognize and amplify the voices of lesbian activists who have led the charge in this battle for decades. 

The lesbophobic attacks on Hermoso and Rodriguez during Pride Month are a painful reminder of the systemic and institutional discrimination we face. This vile behavior is a glaring symptom of the entrenched heteronormativity and patriarchy that continues to poison the world of sports. Jenni Hermoso was the lesbian who was sexually assaulted live on TV by Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, in 2023, sparking an international conversation on sexual harassment in women’s sports and resulting in Rubiales’ resignation after much protest. 

To add insult to injury, lesbophobic comments targeting Jenni and Misa remain unmoderated on social media, while just this week Instagram/Meta unjustly deleted EL*C’s post celebrating Dyke Marches for “inappropriate language.” This blatant hypocrisy reveals the dangers of rapidly advancing technology without any regard towards hate-based biases that stifle our voices and perpetuate discrimination. 

EL*C stands in fierce solidarity with Hermoso and Rodriguez, and every person who has been subjected to lesbophobic violence. We call on the sports community and social media companies to take immediate, concrete actions to eradicate lesbophobia and ensure a safe, inclusive environment for all. We demand accountability. We demand a world where every lesbian can live openly and authentically without fear of hatred or violence.  

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