Scotland: Six in ten LGBT people have seen homophobia in sport, report says

Stephen Gray June 28, 2012
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A report into levels of homophobia and transphobia in Scottish sport and recommendations to tackle the problems have been formally unveiled today.

The Out for Sport report, launched by the Equality Network, alleges that deep anti-gay prejudices exist at all levels of sport in the country, and from sporting grounds and changing rooms to playing fields, with no active intervention by the government. Preliminary details of the report were reported earlier this month.

A survey completed by 1,722 self-selecting respondents, advertised through the Equality Network’s database and social media, found six in ten LGBT respondents had witnessed homophobia or transphobia in a sports setting.

79 percent thought there was a problem with homophobia in sport and only 5 percent thought enough was being done to tackle homophobia and transphobia.

94 percent thought Scottish sports would be better off without homophobia, 93 percent thought society would fare better without homophobia or transphobia.

The report concludes that homophobia and transphobia are “damaging for sport, bad for LGBT people, and bad for society”, while not enough is being done by the government to address the issues.

Scott Cuthbertson, the charity’s community development co-ordinator, said: “We now know that prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is a significant problem that blights Scottish sport, but we also know that currently little to no specific action is being taken to tackle the problem.”

The report makes a series of recommendations that the Equality Network believes would help tackle the problem, including:

  • The need for visible leadership – a Scottish LGBT Sports Charter, a public awareness campaign, and a visible commitment to tackling the problem from the Scottish Government and sports bodies.
  • A National Coordinating Group that would develop and implement an action plan to address the problem
  • All major sports bodies should have clear and embedded LGBT equality policies that seek to prevent discrimination and promote participation
  • Diversity training on sexual orientation and gender identity issues should be developed for coaches, PE teachers and other key persons.
  • Homophobic and transphobic behaviour by sports participants and spectators should be actively challenged with a zero tolerance approach
  • Robust implementation of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, and a review of the law on threatening communications to include homophobia and transphobia.
  • Active measures to encourage LGBT participation in sport and more support for LGBT-friendly teams and clubs.

The Equality Network, which runs the Out for Sport campaign, called on the Scottish Government and sports bodies to take practical action.

Shona Robison MSP, Minister for the Commonwealth Games and Sport, said: “It is very important to us in the Scottish Government that there is equality in sport. There should be no barriers to people participating in sport.

“The Out for Sport conference and the report raises some very important issues indeed and I want to reassure you that I will be looking at the recommendations and will work with you to make sure those issues are addressed. It’s very important particularly with the Commonwealth Games coming up in two years time that we make the most of that opportunity to make sport more accessible to everyone in Scotland no matter what their background.”

A full copy of the report can be read at the Out for Sport website.

More: equality network, Homophobia, homophobia in sport, Scotland, Sport features, transphobia

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