In what many will consider a breakthrough move, the Football Association (FA) this week announced that it has signed on to a charter designed to give “a red card to homophobia and transphobia” in sport.
The charter calls on sports associations to do all they can to stamp out homophobia and transphobia, both in terms of institutionalized prejudices and discriminatory language or abuse used by spectators of the sports.
The FA joins the Lawn Tennis Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union, as well as the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in signing on to the Charter for Action.
From the FA’s website:
The Charter has four points:
[1.] We believe that everyone should be able to participate in and enjoy sport – whoever they are and whatever their background
[2.] We believe that sport is about fairness and equality, respect and dignity. Sport teaches individuals how to strive and succeed, how to cope with success and disappointment, and brings people together with a common goal
[3.] We are committed to making these values a reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We will work together, and individually, to rid sport of homophobia and transphobia
[4.] We will make sport a welcome place for everyone – for those participating in sport, those attending sporting events and for those working or volunteering in sports at any level. We will work with all these groups to ensure they have a voice, and to challenge unacceptable behaviour.
Alex Horne, General Secretary of the Football Association, said: “The FA and its stakeholders have worked hard over the years in providing football for all and ensuring that football stadia are open to everyone and are both family and LGBT friendly.
“We’ve seen real progress over the last 20 years when it comes to tackling racism and that’s something football should be proud of. We remain committed to our long-term goal of removing all forms of discrimination, such as homophobia, out of the game.”
The Charter for Action is part of a British cross-government plan designed to aid LGBTs in all areas of life.
“Sport is still seen by many as an institution where there are barriers we have yet to tear down, because there are so few openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who feel comfortable on the field.
“Professional sports have the ability to change attitudes, on the field as well as in society. That is why it is important we break through this last remaining taboo and tackle it head on so that LGBT people feel welcome in all sports.
“The Liberal Democrats have long pledged to tackle prejudice everywhere and today’s launch of the Charter for Action is an important step in ensuring in sport, homophobic prejudices become a thing of the past.”
Earlier this month Swedish footballer Anton Hysen, the son of former Liverpool player Glenn Hysen, announced that he is gay, potentially making him the only openly gay footballer in Europe.
You can learn more about the Charter for Action and sport at the charter’s dedicated Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/lgbtsportcharter.
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