Brazilian Bremer wore number 24… and it’s an event

The number 24 has long been boycotted by Brazilian players because of its association with homosexuality. A taboo that was broken by Bremer on Friday during the World Cup match between Brazil and Cameroon, even if the Juventus player denied any political content.

Brazil – Cameroon game (0:1) will go down in history. Because on Friday, the number “24”, which Brazilian football has missed for decades due to homophobic prejudice, was worn for the first time during the World Cup in a non-belligerent and FIFA-compliant manner. .

Admittedly, this great historical first is partially explained by the change in FIFA regulations. For the 2022 World Cup, the number of registered players per selection has been increased from 23 to a maximum of 26. But during the controversial Copa America in Brazil last year, each team could call up to 28 players for the exclusive title. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all options, except for the host country, presented themselves with the number 24. An NGO even sued the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF), but to no avail.

Secret lotto game

The prejudices about “24” come from the “jogo do bicho” (animal game), an underground lotto that appeared on the streets of Rio at the end of the 19th century and is still practiced today. Each bettor must choose the square that the animal represents, and the number 24 is the square of the deer, which is associated with homosexuality in Brazilian popular culture, as it refers to animal species whose males can have sex with each other. . In addition, the Portuguese word veado for this animal has a similar sound to viado, an insult for homosexual.

Bremer © IconSport

The appearance of the “24” in the Auriverde uniform at the World Cup is therefore of symbolic importance. Both in Brazil, where the figure is taboo, and in Qatar, host of a World Cup marked by controversy over LGBT+ rights and a ban on European captains wearing rainbow armbands. In the Seleção’s third and final group match, it was 25-year-old centre-back Gleison Bremer who started the 24th game. The “Juventus” player, who wears the N.3 jersey, did not play the first two games. “For me it’s a shirt like any other, the important thing is to be in the World Cup, the number doesn’t matter,” the defender told reporters a week ago, but denied any political content in the choice.

A symbol of LGBTQ+ resistance

Clichés die hard, some men, for example, refuse to sit in the 24th seat at the theater or cinema, live in the 24th apartment of the building, or use 23+1 candles to celebrate their 24th birthday. The number has long been boycotted by players in the Brazilian league, where the few who wear it are usually foreigners or third-choice goalkeepers. But for some members of the LGBT+ community, it has become a symbol of resistance and protest. It is common to see this written on the shirts of inclusive associations.

In neighborhood tournaments between gay teams, it might be as coveted as Pele’s “10.” Railson Oliveira, founder of FieL LGBT, the Corinthians collective, told AFP: “We would like it to be a militant act like the actions taken by other teams, but it’s good to see it happening on this international stage.” Sao Paulo supporters on the Seleção’s use of “24” at the World Cup.

Until Friday, the jersey was used at least twice during the Brazil match. Usually twice in a friendly setting where there are no strict numerical rules. It was worn by Taison in the 3-1 win over Japan in November 2017 and by Roberto Firmino in the 3-0 win over Ghana in September, although the Liverpool player did not take the field. Times seem to be changing. During Rio Gay Pride last Sunday, with the support of the Brazilian Football Confederation, a giant number 24 “Seleção” shirt and a rainbow were unveiled on the arm. “We feel the wind of maturity is blowing, in the sense that (it’s now clearer) that a number has nothing to do with someone’s sexual orientation,” says the founder of FieL LGBT.

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