LGBT+ hate in sport has barely changed in a decade and most victims don’t even report it
73% of LGBT+ athletes feel they have to be part of an LGBT+ team or ‘safe space’ to take part in sport.
Meanwhile there appears to be little shift in the levels of homophobia on the sports pitch and in stadiums in the last decade.
That’s according to new research by UK LGBT+ sports campaign organization Just A Ball Game? As it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
It also reported that only 44% of people who reported homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in a sports context felt they got a satisfactory response.
Moreover, the number who feel confident in reporting LGBT+ discrimination is just 25% today – exactly the same as in 2011.
LGBT+ soccer ally and former Everton and Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall said:
‘To me sport has been something that should be inclusive for all people. As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community I find it sad that they are still finding that sport still has many barriers for them.
‘This survey shows some hope in certain areas, but we still have a long way to go to make sport as inclusive as it should be.’
‘I want all people to feel safe and enjoy sport’
The report’s authors – Just A Ball Game? founder Lindsay England and Professor Peter Millward of Liverpool John Moores University – noted ‘modest improvements’ in the way sport handled LGBT+ issues.
But they noted discrimination remains high. Moreover, they believe the amount of prejudice is unreported as LGBT+ fans and athletes accept it as inevitable or dismiss it as banter.
For example, one person in the survey noted:
‘I have heard lazy homophobic slurs on the pitch – whether these were intended to be homophobic, or were just ignorant, I’m not sure.’
Meanwhile another confirmed the division in society between LGBT+ allies and haters exists in sport too:
‘Two men shouted homophobic abuse at me but it was stopped by the rest of the team and spectators when they all went apeshit at them.’
The report recommends sporting bodies adopt a zero tolerance policy for LGBT+ hate. They should train all staff in diversity issues and ensure a strong reporting system for any problems.
Moreover, they should also embrace LGBT+ athletes and fans and encourage a new generation of LGBT+ participants.
Southall added: ‘Sporting bodies must look at this survey and work out a better way forward. They must give the same onus on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia as racism. All discrimination should always be challenged.
‘I want all people to feel safe and enjoy sport. My hope is we get to a point where the LGBTQ+ community can mix with others without feeling threatened or get abused.’
Published on GayStarNews Read the original article
Author: Tris Reid-Smith