El Paso Locomotive star calls for equality and inclusion during Pride Month

EL PASO, Texas — Matt Bahner is using his platform as the star of El Paso Locomotive and making his voice count as he performs for Pride throughout June.

Bahner joined the Playing for Pride initiative in 2018 and has continued his efforts at three different clubs each Pride month since.

“I think we’ve made progress, upwards to 2022, but at the same time I think now it looks like we might be going backwards, there’s a lot of hate in the world,” the defender said. of Locomotive. “Me as a player using my platform the best I can to show my support, to give a safe space, to be an ally to make people in this community feel safe and feel like they have a place in this world.”

It’s an issue that Bahner says is very important to him – his older brother is part of the LGBTQI+ community. He told ABC-7 that he uses Playing for Pride as a way to be an ally not just to his brother but to the entire LGBTQI+ community.

“He always said I was one of his biggest supporters, which for me is huge,” Bahner said. “As we were growing up, you know, I wouldn’t say it was an obvious thing for me, but at the end of the day, he’s my brother; I don’t really look at him as something different, I look at him like my older brother, I love him, as I would have otherwise.”

Playing for Pride was started in 2017 by professional footballer Austin da Luz. He wanted it to be a way for professional athletes to show their support for the LGBTQI+ community. Since its inception, leagues and players around the world have embraced the movement.

Between the USL Championship and Ligue 1, 13 coaches and players, including Matt, play for pride. There are also 26 supporter bands taking part in the campaign while other players like locomotive defender Yuma show their support by donning a pride-themed captain’s band.

“It would be great to get to a point where we don’t have to, and it would be trivial and not something really controversial or anything like that, but until we get to that point, for me, it’s about awareness and support,” Bahner said.

For every Locomotive game in the month of June Matt will donate $10, he will also add an additional $5 for every clean sheet they get and double the total if they win.

If you would like to join Matt in his efforts, you can donate here. El Paso Locomotive FC will donate to Matt’s campaign.

You can catch Matt Playing for Pride on Saturday when the El Paso Locomotive (6) takes on Phoenix Rising FC (5) at 8:30 p.m. MT.

About Jun Quentin

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