Meet the Main Street Greens, lower-division soccer’s 1st LGBTQ supporters’ group

Main Street Greens

Image credit: Holly Hutto/Main Street Greens

American soccer in the United States is a rapidly growing sport. In its current iteration, appropriate questions are being asked about the loudest voices – regarding both fans and journalists – in the rapidly changing narrative of American soccer. A quick perusal of prominent supporter groups and fan sites and it is clear that so far the narrative has been written by cisgender straight white males; particularly in the lower divisions of American soccer. For American soccer to continue to grow, that must change, and a diversity of voices and opinions must become a part of American soccer.

Beyond racial, ethnic and sociopolitical diversity, soccer must embrace individuals of different sexual orientations and gender identities. And moreso, as cisgender males we must give them a voice.

We present to you an interview with Holly Hutto, the spokesperson and one of the founders of US Soccer’s first LGBTQ supporters’ group for the lower divisions.

NC – Who are the Main Street Greens? Who do you support?

MSG – The Main Street Greens are an LGBTQ (and allies) supporters group of OKC Energy FC.

NC –  What was the idea behind starting an LGBTQ supporter’s group? What is the idea behind the name?

MSG – The idea behind starting this LGBTQ supporters group is pretty simple. It’s simply time. As OKC Energy FC enters its fifth season, it’s time to grow the fan base of this beautiful sport & wonderful club in Oklahoma City, & the state in general.

The name Main Street Greens derives from two things that soccer supporters love in OKC. Its soccer bar & the Energy. USL fans know that OKC is nicknamed ‘The Greens’, so that part doesn’t require an explanation.

But, Skinny Slim’s in Downtown OKC has been a sacred place for soccer supporters in OKC since it first opened. It’s honestly like our Cheers. Our commitment to the place is that serious. Energy FC supporters meet there regularly throughout the entire year, not just during the USL season. We meet there for EPL matches, holidays, beers on any average Tuesday, etc. We’re a diverse group of people, but there, we’re really all the same. It’s a meeting spot for chosen family & it’s a beautiful thing.

Skinny Slim’s OKC resides on Main Street. And there you have it, the name ‘Main Street Greens’ was created.

There’s also a noteworthy level of equality associated with the name. The term ‘Main Street’ is oftentimes associated with everyday, common people. Well, the LGBTQ community is everyday, common people & this group aims to shine the light on that fact.

NC – How many members do you have?

MSG – It’s hard to give an accurate, concrete number at this time.

My estimate is that we’ll enter the 2018 USL season with 20 members. If we enter the start of the season &/or finish the season with more than that, I’ll be thrilled. Hell, even if we enter Taft Stadium with five of us representing Energy FC as the Main Street Greens on Opening Day, this group will serve its purpose in my book. I want people to know that soccer is a sport for everyone. This supporters group is an example of it being so, regardless of its size.

This supporters group was launched in November 2017. I’m nothing but pleased with the the amount of interest the Main Street Greens have sparked in such a short amount of time.

NC – Do you have any affiliation with The Grid OKC?

MSG – At this time, no. We have members, including myself, who have served as officers for The Grid in past season; however, the Main Street Greens were founded as a separate supporters group for OKC Energy FC.

NC – Has the club been supportive of your SG? How so?

MSG – Absolutely! Billy Walton, Tyler Vaughn, and other members of the front office have been nothing but positive and supportive of the Main Street Greens so far. I expect that to continue! The love is real!

We’re excited to support our players & our new coaching staff in 2018! No doubt in my mind that they’ll support us as well. We’re talking about community-minded folks across the board here.

NC – What do you hope to achieve via Main street greens?

MSG – Simply put, I want to put a spotlight on the fact that we’re ALL in for OKC. I want LGBTQ folks, & other individuals who are feeling left out to know how inclusive this sport can be. I want these people to know that can join us as members of our family.

NC – Are you aware of any other LGBTQ SGs?

MSG – Yes! The Canal Street Blues, Gay Gooners, Pride of the Sound, All Stripes, just to name a few. Also, Brighton & Hove & the NWSL have a noteworthy history of LGBTQ support! To my knowledge, this is the first LGBTQ (& allies) supporters group in the USL, USA’s division two soccer.

NC – Have you experienced homophobia at soccer games?

MSG – I understand & support participation in banter, but there is no place for homophobic chants in the beautiful sport of soccer. I know that my soccer family in OKC doesn’t stand for it & that always makes me feel safe & welcome.

However, I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never heard homophobic, ‘puto’ chants at soccer matches, including from some supporters at Energy FC matches. These chants serve no purpose & hold no place in our supporter cultural. It’s past time to end them.

NC – How can fans support Main Street Greens?

MSG – Being a supporter and member of the Main Street Greens isn’t a “One Size Fits All” thing! Join us for a beer! Follow us on Twitter! Order some merch! (Hopefully we’ll have some available for preorder soon!) Cheer on Energy FC with us on the North End at Taft Stadium. And support the LGBTQ community wherever you go!

Follow Nipun on Twitter: @NipunChopra7.

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Nipun divides his time between his two great loves - neuroscience and soccer. You can find him discussing both of those, as well as regular updates (pupdates) on his wonderful doggo, Octavia on Twitter. Get in touch with feedback/story suggestions at @NipunChopra7 or nipun.chopra@SocTakes.com
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