Britain's biggest sports are backing a new government campaign to stamp out homophobia and transphobia.
The Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union joined the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in becoming the first signatories of the Charter for Action, which aims to make sport a welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB and T) people.
The Charter has four points:
- We believe that everyone should be able to participate in and enjoy sport - whoever they are and whatever their background.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said: ‘Sport should be about what you can do, not who you are. But too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people feel that the sports field is not somewhere they can be themselves, and that prejudice and discrimination will mean their sexuality is always talked about more than their ability with a ball, bat or racket.
‘Homophobia and transphobia has no place in sport and I’m delighted that so many sporting bodies are backing our campaign to stamp it out at all levels, from local parks to Olympic stadiums.
‘Everyone - including individual sportsmen and women and spectators - is welcome to sign up to the charter, and I want to see as many people as possible joining us in pledging to stamp out homophobia and transphobia.’
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 LGB and T 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.’
It’s not just governing bodies that are welcome to sign up to the Charter. As well as governing bodies, the charter is also open to leagues, teams, and individual participants and spectators. You can show your support for the Charter by signing up to it on Facebook.
The Charter for Action is one part of the new cross-government LGB and T action plan, which was published today. It sets out what all government departments are going to do to support LGB and T equality in the coming year.
Notes to editors
On Sunday 13 March Lynne Featherstone will be attending a Sheffield Eagles Rugby League game at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, to thank the Eagles for their commitment to tackling homophobia on and off the field. The Minister will be available for embargoed interviews on the launch of the charter. To attend, contact Alex Marklew in the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3245 / 07833 402 039.
Individuals can show their support for the Charter for Action by visiting http://www.facebook.com/lgbtsportcharter
The full action plan for LGB and T equality will be available for download from the Government Equalities Office website from 9.30am on Monday 14 March. To obtain an embargoed copy, contact the Home Office press office.