Diversity ‘Monauaras’: LGBTQIA+ team promotes diversity in Amazonian soccer

The "Monauaras Futebol Clube" is a team composed of LGBQIA+ members (Reproduction/Instagram)

Priscilla Peixoto – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – Aiming to support inclusion, promote diversity and encourage sports, a group of friends, residents of the Cidade Nova neighborhood, North of the capital of Amazonas, founded the “Monauaras Futebol Clube”, a team of LGBTQIA+ members with a technical committee composed of six people and 24 athletes, the club uses sports as a tool to break taboos.

“The team was created in September last year, after a long conversation among friends, and for us it is really important to act in a segment where the majority of people are straight. Gays in sports are still a taboo”, says one of the coordinators, Victor Saylon, 25.

Monauaras Futebol Clube (Reproduction/Instagram)

Prejudice X Welcoming

According to Victor, the club is a remnant of the first gay team in Manaus, the Ball Cats, and becomes the second LBQTIA+ soccer team recognized in Manaus. “We were very welcomed by the nearby communities, such as Canaranas, where they really opened their doors to the ‘monas’ and embraced us in a beautiful, eye-popping way. This is how they became our home, where we have the entire crowd cheering for us”, says the coordinator.

During practices and games, Victor, or Celeste as she is called in the team, reveals that all members introduce themselves with a female name chosen by each one. “It’s our socialization, everything is light, fun, but with respect”, emphasizes Saylon.

Despite the welcome, the crew has already experienced tense moments, prejudice, as usual, is still a reality in the everyday life of the LGBTQIA+ community as Victor points out. “We’ve been insulted, threatened, ironized, they try to mess with our integrity time after time, but we also impose ourselves, we demand respect, because they need to understand that we are worthy of respect like anyone else”, he emphasizes.

Support and dispute

Despite being amateur athletes, the members seek support to keep the team active in the sports scene. And even with the help of some commercial establishments in the North Zone to make the players’ uniforms, Victor warns about the lack of incentive, support, and public policies that focus on potential sports talents and championships that welcome the LGBTQIA+ community.

“You don’t often see a championship, a gay cup with support from big companies or government, there is nothing that welcomes us in this area. People still have a lot of prejudice and are afraid to help a gay team, but we will not give up, we will win and show that we can play on equal terms with teams that have big investments and sponsorships”, says the player.

Team gathered for training (Reproduction/Instagram)

Affiliated to the Brazilian Federation of LGTBQIA+ Football, the “Monauaras” will compete in the National Football Ligay, which will take place next year in São Paulo. “It is a victory for the team, because we are breaking this prejudice and showing that monas also play soccer, and can be wherever they want, in the field, on the court, on the tatami, in the lounge, in the kitchen, because a mona’s place is wherever she wants”, concludes Victor.

For those interested in helping or sponsoring the team, you can contact the team through the social network instagram @Monauaras.fc.