Strong Enough To Survive … A Tribute To Justin Fashanu

Chris has written many articles and contributed to many press interviews and features during his career. Strong Enough To Survive is one of Chris’s favourite recent articles, because the Justin Fashanu story was one of his earliest inspirations and motivations to his sports career.

Many people may think that the title of the article Strong Enough To Survive was some kind of reference to Chris’s career, however, this could not be further from the truth. Chris selected a far deeper and underlying emotional meaning to the title for his tribute to Justin.

People may not be aware but “Strong Enough To Survive” was the title of an essay that Justin Fashanu wrote for Angela Mason’s book Stonewall 25 – The Making of the Gay Community in Britain (1994). His essay gave a unique insight into the pain and torment that he suffered at the hands of the tabloid press throughout his football career.

Here’s Chris’s tribute that he wrote for the Football v Homophobia Campaign …

Strong Enough To Survive … A Tribute To Justin Fashanu

By Chris Morgan

I remember seeing the newspapers during the week after Justin’s death and feeling sick to stomach. There were graphic accounts of his last movements and interviews with people who had met him, or spent time with him in his final hours.

The press hounded him throughout his career, drove him to suicide and then afterwards printed some of the cruellest, nastiest stories ever published in the UK newspapers. As an athlete myself I felt angry that Justin was never allowed to meet his true potential on the pitch.

At the time all this happened I was just coming to terms with my own sexuality and was taking my first steps towards a career in sport. I realised that I was faced with a choice of whether or not to be open about my sexuality in the brutal and testosterone driven sport of Powerlifting.

Being out as a gay man in my previous sport of rugby union was impossible at the time. However, I knew in an individual sport like Powerlifting there was an opportunity to be openly gay and what had happened to Justin motivated me and filled me with strength.

For the next four years Justin’s story stayed with me as I strived to win my first title in Powerlifting, as it filled me with indescribable anger and rage.  At the Gay Games in Sydney 2002, I won that first Gold Medal and immediately dedicated it to Justin’s memory.

I’ve gone on to win many titles and medals during my career and all this time Justin’s story has always been with me in the background. The fact that similar acts of bigotry are still happening today, means that Justin’s story is still as relevant now as it was in 1998.

I’d like to thank everyone at ‘The Justin Campaign’ for keeping his memory alive.

Click Here To Read The Original Article Published In February 2012 …

Chris Morgan is a seven time World Champion in Powerlifting and a Global Ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games. The next Gay Games are scheduled to take place in Paris in 2018. For more information about the Gay Games visit  and

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