England and Surrey cricketer Steven Davies, the sports first openly gay player, is backing the National Union of Students’ (NUS) campaign to tackle homophobia in sport, along with gay rugby star Gareth Thomas.
The NUS’ LGBT section has released new research from a survey of 845 LGBT students which shows that 47% in college and university, who do not participate in any sport, find the culture of sport to be alienating.
While 42% said they had a negative experience at school which has meant that they don’t want to get involved.
NUS’ Out in Sport report also recommends that sports teams publicly demonstrate their inclusiveness, and make clear they will not tolerate abuse.
The report calls on students’ unions to take a lead in ensuring that sports facilities, teams and staff are LGBT-friendly and that school teach LGBT inclusiveness in sports.
Steven Davies welcomed the research, and said: “Out in Sport sends a positive message to other LGBT people – that they can do it too. The report also identifies room for improvement and positive practices that can make a very real difference to participation.”
“Most LGBT students participate in individual sport or fitness activity through their students’ union or university, and as the report shows, most have a positive experience.”
“But too many who don’t participate in sport find the culture around sport alienating or unwelcoming, and many had negative experiences at school or experienced discrimination which put them off participating.”
Adding his support, Gareth Thomas, former Wales rugby union captain, said:
“NUS’ Out in Sport project is truly ground breaking and I am delighted to support it. Attitudes have changed and the time is right for sport to start accepting openly gay people in the same way other areas of society have in recent years.”