Welcome to the official website of The Justin Fashanu Foundation.
We were founded by Justin’s niece, Amal, in memory of his courage and pioneering spirit as Britain's first openly gay footballer who tragically took his own life after a career blighted by prejudice. Whilst football continues to go from strength to strength in terms of popularity and benefits from incredible media coverage, we feel that issues surrounding homophobia, racism and how prejudice can lead to mental health issues need more of a voice. We encourage more positive dialogue around these subjects and challenge how people think. This will hopefully lead to greater confidence amongst all participants such that they feel accepted and comfortable to be an individual and that they have a solid support network. This will in turn lead to better access to the supposedly beautiful game for all at every level.
For all his talent Justin is still chiefly remembered for being the Britain’s first openly gay professional footballer and for taking his own life. It is largely forgotten that he was football’s first million pound black player and that his playing career spanned 19 years with spells at prominent clubs including Norwich City and Nottingham Forest not to mention representing the England U21 team.
Despite ‘making it’ as a professional footballer and achieving high praise, particularly in the early years of his top flight football career, Justin wrestled with a number of personal demons and looking back, it seems clear that a lifetime of prejudice, most notably around his sexuality were at the heart of his struggles. It was considered taboo to ‘come out’ at that time but Justin bucked that trend during his playing days. A feat that does not appear to have been repeated since. The stigma attached with being openly gay during one’s playing career has not changed more than twenty years after Justin’s death and thirty years since his daring admission. We feel that it is a sad reflection of the prejudice that still exists in professional football today and an attitude that we intend to challenge