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The “gayest World Cup” that no one noticed

We should care about the messages sent by sports stars


Quinn, a woman who identifies as nonbinary, gestures during the Women's World Cup Group B soccer match between Canada and Nigeria in Melbourne, Australia on July 21. Associated Press/Photo by Hamish Blair

The “gayest World Cup” that no one noticed
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Pride month is in the rearview mirror, thankfully. Corporate branding and logos are no longer filled with the colors of the rainbow, but make no mistake, the LGBTQ+ movement is still in full swing. The women’s World Cup has ended and was recently described by the Washington Post as the “gayest World Cup ever.”

But why is this newsworthy? Well, the Washington Post article title adds that “no one’s batting an eyelid,” as if to say that no one seemed affected or concerned about the state of the tournament in 2023. However, there is cause for concern. Eyelids should bat.

In itself, the World Cup may not change the world, but the tournament is profoundly influential on the global stage and will inevitably affect the lives of those around us.

According to press reports, across the women’s tournament held in Australia and New Zealand there were roughly 100 openly LGBTQ+ players and coaches represented among the national teams. Regarding homosexual representation, Australia reportedly led the pack, with more than half the team openly identifying with the LGBTQ+ community. The USA team was also not without representation. One of the sport’s mega-icons, Megan Rapinoe, enthusiastically advocates for LGBTQ+ support and has done much to advance the conversation in recent years. And the first transgender player in World Cup history played in the women’s tournament—for Canada.

For reference, just a year ago, the men’s World Cup had no openly gay players or coaches to speak of. Zero. Yet, there were massive news headlines about the “OneLove” armbands that players planned to wear until the initiative was halted by FIFA. There was an uproar.

Whether or not you choose to watch, the World Cup is continually opening avenues for more and more people to accept the LGBTQ+ agenda.

The 2023 women’s World Cup tournament was held in Australia, one of the most pro-LGBTQ+ countries in the world. Progressive affirmation and celebration abound in the land down under. So, why are we not as concerned about the “gayest World Cup ever?” Why have Christians and conservatives alike not spoken up, especially in light of the chaotic yet effective boycotts during the 2023 Pride Month?

Perhaps you are becoming more accustomed to seeing this type of news in the media. When you see something described as the “gayest ever,” it doesn’t affect you as it once did. Perhaps it doesn’t cause you to bat your eyelids in today’s age because the LGBTQ+ agenda seems to be making headlines around the clock. There’s so much to keep up with already. And if you don’t watch soccer or aren’t passionate about it, the World Cup may not affect you at all.

Since its arrival in Italy in 1970, the Women’s World Cup has seen a significant participation increase from those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. Likewise, viewership rose for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. While there is no question that men’s sports overwhelmingly receive more coverage, funding, advertising, and viewership than their female counterparts, the women’s World Cup is gaining steam, and the players are gaining more influence on the world stage. In 2019, the women’s tournament was viewed by over one billion people, and the final match alone was viewed by over 260 million. To help us understand, that’s over twice the viewership of the 2023 Super Bowl.

Inevitably, the gayest World Cup ever is affecting the news headlines. But don’t fool yourself into believing that it also won’t eventually affect our own societies, neighborhoods, and schools. People have not only been watching soccer matches, they have been observing a movement progress on live television—an athletic community attempting to normalize homosexuality and transgenderism. Whether or not you choose to watch, the World Cup is continually opening avenues for more and more people to accept the LGBTQ+ agenda.

And here’s what we must reckon with: The trend is moving forward on LGBTQ issues. Unless there is a disruption, the next World Cup will include more players and coaches from the LGBTQ+ community. The viewership will be larger. More companies will choose to invest dollars in advertising. New names will achieve more noticeable success. Therefore, more players will obtain more influence, becoming household names. Children will look to emulate these superstars, creating more normalization, and so on.

The World Cup is about far more than soccer, and those pushing the sexual revolution know it.

Editor’s note: The caption for the photo for this story has been corrected to reflect that the soccer player Quinn identifies as nonbinary.


Cheston Pickard

Cheston Pickard serves as discipleship pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.


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