Controversial Move to Al-Ettifaq: Henderson’s Stance on LGBTQ+ Rights

Controversial Move to Al-Ettifaq: Henderson’s Stance on LGBTQ+ Rights

In an extensive interview with The Athletic, the former Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson, opened up about his controversial move to Al-Ettifaq.

Henderson has long been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, a stance that has garnered him widespread recognition and support.

However, his transfer to a country like Saudi Arabia, which criminalizes homosexuality, raised eyebrows and prompted criticism.

Rainbow Laces and Football’s Inclusivity Message

Henderson’s support for LGBTQ+ rights has been evident in his consistent display of rainbow laces during matches.

In an interview with Liverpool’s matchday programme in October of the previous year, he spoke passionately about the significance of this gesture.

He stated, “I have regularly worn rainbow laces, and today will be no exception because this kind of visible support can only have a positive impact.

It also sends the powerful message that football is for everyone and the more of us who can take this message back into our homes, workplaces, and daily lives, the better.”

Balancing Values with Cultural Sensitivity

Less than a year later, Henderson finds himself in a different setting and facing new considerations.

When asked about the possibility of promoting the same message in the Middle East, he expressed his openness to it but emphasized the importance of not disrespecting the local culture and religion.

Henderson explained, “I wouldn’t rule that out, but at the same time, what I wouldn’t do is disrespect the religion and culture in Saudi Arabia. If we’re all saying everybody can be who they want to be and everybody is inclusive, then we’ll have to respect that.

We’ll have to respect everyone. And by doing something like that, if that did disrespect the religion, then no, I’m not going to do that.

But if the opportunity comes where I can do it and it doesn’t, then yeah, because that’s my values.”

Navigating Cultural Sensitivity: The Rainbow Armband Incident

Henderson also addressed the incident involving the video announcing his signing on Al-Ettifaq’s social media channels. The video appeared to show the rainbow armband he wore as Liverpool’s skipper being greyed out.

He clarified that he had no prior knowledge of this and acknowledged the complexities of the situation, given the importance of religion in the region. He stated, “I didn’t know anything about it until it was out.

And it’s hard for me to know and understand everything because it is part of the religion.

So if I wear the rainbow armband, if that disrespects their religion, then that’s not right either.

Everybody should be respectful of religion and culture. That’s what I think we’re all trying to fight for here in terms of inclusion and everything.”

In this candid interview, Jordan Henderson’s commitment to promoting LGBTQ+ rights remains clear, but he also underscores the significance of respecting local customs and beliefs in his new environment.

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