Sport behind in tackling homophobia, finds report
The sporting world must work to fight homophobia and tackle abuse on the pitch, stadiums and the terrace in order to create a more inclusive environment, a report found.
Research carried out by charity Sport Allies – found that the sporting world is a “hostile and exclusive” environment for LGBT+ people and urged coaches to ban homophobic language.
“If we don’t stand together to support each other, prejudice will continue,” said Damian Collins MP, hosting the report’s launch event at the House of Commons last week.
Collins, who is also the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chairman, said homophobia in sport reflects particularly badly on football as there are no out professional footballers in England.
“Despite the fact that they share a love and passion for the same sport together, they do not feel that they can be honest about who they are and who they love with the people they play with,” he said.
Sport Allies grew out of the Warwick Rowers naked calendar project, an annual release which raises money for charity. The team have since positioned themselves as LGBT+ allies campaigning against homophobia in sport.
Members of the men’s rowing team were at the event and one rower spoke of how small remarks and ‘locker room banter’ can have negative impacts on people who are not out.
“It’s important to make people understand that that is wrong,” said team member Jacob Howard-Park. “To make people aware that it’s not necessarily homophobic but that the effect that can have on homosexual people can be quite extreme.”
Sport Allies aims to commission research and collect the best thinking about gender and sexuality in sport.
“We want to translate findings into achievable goals and objectives to the people delivering sport on the ground,” said Angus Malcolm, Chair of Sport Allies.
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The charity will also continue to work with the Warwick Rowers as their popularity continues to soar worldwide. Their viral videos have so far garnered over nine million views.
“Those videos get seen countries in the world where to be LGBT can be a matter of life and death,” says Malcolm.
The Warwick Rowers also launched their 2018 calendar at the event, more information can be found about it on their website.