Author R.A. Padmos talks about the first title she published with Manifold Press, back in August 2011. She is giving away a paperback copy to one lucky reader. See below for details!

Ravages, a few years later

RAVAGES - 200pxWriting RAVAGES started with a simple question. What would it take for a Premier League footballer, in the middle of his career, to come out as gay? This idea resulted in a novel about the consequences of the brutal violence of a few, the friendship of many and the love of one very stubborn man.

Ravages was published in 2011. I had hoped, perhaps even expected, that a hugely popular sport like football (soccer) would by now have at least one or two openly gay players active in any of the major European competitions. At the moment of writing this article, in March 2016, there are no such players. I guess the reason for that is a complex mixture of culture, imagined and real risks, lack of courage (hey, manly men in their twenties have as much right to be scared as anyone else), money and public image.

As a lesbian with a history of being out to pretty much everyone I ever met since the late Seventies, I’ve seen the price people pay for being in the closet. After all those years, and having met far more accepting straight people than homophobic ones, I have yet to meet the first heterosexual who truly understands the complexity of telling yourself it’s all private and half-believing it’s actually the honest truth, while at the same time feeling something in your reasoning doesn’t quite add up. Even if there are, obviously, situations in which you’d better keep your mouth shut if you prefer to leave home on your own terms instead of being kicked out by mum and dad.

To be honest, I don’t believe for a moment, that 100% closeted gay footballers active in the Premier League are the rule. Assuming that there are gay players at the highest level, and why wouldn’t I, my guess is that most have at least some friends, family, team-mates and others who are in the know. So, what keeps them so unanimously hidden from their fans?

It’s not my, or anyone else’s, business if or when any gay footballer of (inter)national standing fully comes out of the closet, let that be absolutely clear. To be honest, I would find the whole matter utterly uninteresting if I wasn’t so aware of the fact that being even partly in the closet in a society where homosexuality is neither a crime nor a shame, is perhaps not the best thing you can do for your mental health. After all, some heterosexual players might be more private than others, but none of them will go out of their way (including telling downright lies) to hide the fact that they are straight.

I don’t need public figures to come out to make the world easier for me. I even think there is an argument to be made that it’s the other way around. We, the mostly nameless gays and lesbians, paved the road that led to nice stuff such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and one famous individual after another being openly gay, lesbian or bi.

But I also don’t see why people who play professional football in any of the big European competitions, should exclude themselves from the wonderful feeling of trusting other people’s decency and learning that they are strong enough to handle the surprisingly few truly ugly minds.

I’m giving away one paperback copy of Ravages, signed with a message of your choice. I will ship worldwide, so anyone can enter. Simply enter via the Book Giveaways form (no one but the site admins Fiona and Julie will see the details). I will randomly select the winner, and contact them for further information. I’d also love to hear from you via the comments, though!

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