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Tackling homophobia and discrimination in sport

Graphic: Football scrum

The Australian Human Rights Commission is working with the Australian Sports Commission and the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 to tackle homophobia.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is working with the Australian Sports Commission, the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 and five major sports to tackle homophobia and discrimination.

"If teams want to win we have to make sure everyone brings their best to the field, that doesn't happen when they're wasting their energy suppressing who they are," Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said.

"All people have a right to freely participate in sport, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

Pride in Diversity, Australia's not-for-profit employer support program, has been commissioned to develop a Pride in Sport Index.

Commissioner Wilson said the Pride in Sport Index will help Australian sports to measure themselves on LGBTI inclusiveness.

"We welcome the involvement of five of Australia's major sports in tackling homophobia on the sporting field and value their efforts in tackling discrimination and promoting inclusiveness," he said.

The national rugby union, national league, Australian Rules, soccer and cricket bodies have expressed their support for a benchmarking index and expressed a willingness to join an advisory panel, in partnership with the Australian Sports Commission and Australian Human Rights Commission, to support the development of the Pride in Sport Index.

Commissioner Wilson also welcomed the release of the world's first international study on homophobia in sport, conducted on behalf of the Bingham Cup and a coalition of LGBTI Sports.

The Out on the Fields study was conducted by Repucom and overseen by a panel of seven international experts from six universities. Nearly 9,500 people from all sexualities participated in the study.

A significant majority of respondents (70%) thought youth team sporting environments were not safe or supportive for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people. The study also found that 80% of Australian participants believe that LGB athletes are either not accepted, accepted a little or only moderately accepted in sport.

"These findings reinforce the need for a coordinated approach to tackle homophobia in sport and exclusion based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Commissioner Wilson said.

For more information on the Australian Human Rights Commission consultations on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Intersex (SOGII) Rights visit www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sexual-orientation-sex-gender-identity/projects/sogii-rights

Date: 10 May 2015

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. Football scrum - Hamedog, Flickr Creative Commons