Historically, the number 24 has been associated to homosexuality. In a popular betting game called “Jogo do Bicho,” or the “Animal Game,” 24 is the number for deer. And the word for “deer,” in Portuguese, is the same as a slang term for a gay man.
When it comes to soccer teams in Brazil, jersey number 24 is shunned not only by players, but also by managers and fans. But recent initiatives have led us to ask: what’s wrong with using the number 24? Isn’t it about time for soccer to get over its prejudices and become a diverse environment, accepting of the many sorts of people who enjoy the sport and play it? After all, what’s wrong with being LGBTQIA+?
With that in mind, LiGay, the largest soccer association in the world dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community, paired up with ad agency AlmapBBDO to put a #24 jersey on a statue of soccer legend Pelé in Santos, the city where he got his start. The stunt, pulled off early in the morning on January 16th, caught everyone by surprise. Soon, it made headlines in Brazil’s biggest papers.