British Cycling boss insists homophobia and transphobia ‘are not acceptable in our sport’
British Cycling has condemned homophobia and transphobia in the sport following criticism about a lack of support for LGBT+ cyclists.
Brian Facer, the chief executive of Britain’s governing body for the sport, said in a statement that it was “deeply worrying” to read in “recent weeks” about anti-LGBT+ hate encountered by “some of our fellow cyclists”.
He said British Cycling has since reached out to the individuals concerned and asked for more information where the reports were from anonymous sources.
Facer admitted the organisation must be “more inclusive and must become as diverse as Britain itself” and insisted British Cycling is committed to fighting homophobia and transphobia.
He explained that British Cycling’s code of conduct “provides protection against discriminatory behaviour” and allowed the governing body the power to expel any member to tackle discrimination.
But despite this, Facer acknowledged that British Cycling needed to do more to understand why anti-LGBT+ hate occurred within the sport. He said that a “number of people” had “bravely come forward to share their experiences”, but the organisation hadn’t seen that “translate into formal complaints.
As such, he said British Cycling wasn’t able to “investigate and take the appropriate action” to tackle anti-LGBT+ hate.
“We must do more to understand why that is not happening, but I wanted to take an opportunity to say this: homophobia and transphobia are not acceptable in our sport,” Facer said.
He declared that tackling homophobia and transphobia within the sport is a duty “we must all share”.
“It is not just a matter for those who are subjected to bigotry, everyone who cares about our sport must shoulder this responsibility and it is vital that all of us who care about cycling act whenever we hear it, whenever we see it,” Facer concluded.
The statement comes just weeks after elite British cyclist Clay Davies condemned the governing body for not doing enough to stamp out homophobia in his sport.
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Davies, who came out publicly as gay earlier this year, told British Continental that he witnessed “homophobic slurs being thrown around” by cyclists during the Eastern region road race championships a couple of years ago.
He recalled that the anti-gay slurs weren’t “just banter”, adding the tone was downright “nasty”.
In a later interview, he told daily cycling podcast Quicklink that British Cycling has a “pretty low baseline of understanding” on LGBT+ issues and inclusion in sport.
He even reckoned the governing body is “10 years in the past” if not “probably more to be brutally honest”.
Davies told Quicklink that he believed British Cycling needs to “start from scratch really” even though he thought they might have “some sort of diversity board type thing”.
“But unless it [LGBTQ+ prejudice] is […] near the very top of the priority list and linked to dare I say funding and sponsors” then much wouldn’t change, Davies believed.