Stuart Andrew MP: We should treat homophobia in sport as seriously as racism
Out Tory MP Stuart Andrew has said that levels of homophobia in sport are “shocking” – calling for it to be treated as seriously as racism.
The Conservative MP for Pudsey made the comments to gay rugby club Leeds Hornets RFC.
He said of homophobia in sport: “I think there’s an obligation on all sports to actively look at this and see how prevalent it is within their individual sport.
“If you look at the statistics [in the Out On the Fields Survey], it’s quite disturbing how high those figures are.
“Sometimes it can be subtle homophobia. It seems to me this one of the fields where we have to tackle this last bit of a problem.
“In the workplace, there’s a lot of work going on to tackle homophobia, in schools there is, but it seems on the pitches, it’s still a problem, so there’s a responsibility on all clubs to tackle this.”
On why homophobia was a problem in sport specifically, he added: “I think a lot of it is a bit of culture: the crowd mentality.
“I bet if you take these people out individually and spoke to them on an individual basis, they wouldn’t share an opinion as strong as they are indicating collectively.
“Sometimes when people get together, there’s a bit of bravado, but that’s not acceptable. We’re seeing massive strides in tackling racism in crowds and football, and we need to make sure we need to do the same with all sports, in homophobia.
“I think it’s also about individuals who might be playing in a team – are they more aggressive to someone who might be black or gay? It’s about raising awareness across the field, really.
“Educating the people who are running the team, and the supporters of the teams?”
It was confirmed last week that Mr Andrew would remain a Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS.