Sports fields, courts, locker rooms, all have one particular thing in common. They are hotspots for homophobia. Homophobia should not have a place in Sport, Education Settings, Workplaces and everywhere else.
So how do we tackle this problem in schools? Aren't we already making progress with the LGBT+ community in sport? Haven't we done enough?
The approach is simple, but it requires governments, education facilities and National Governing Bodies with the clubs they represent to take part.
First of, making a zero-tolerance policy to any type of discrimination, homophobia is not the only issue in sport, racism in football, sexism in boxing and much more. Having an anti-harassment policy, and making teams LGBT+ inclusive by ensuring that training is happening to identify homophobia, how to respond to it, and ultimately how to STOP it.
Ensuring that players and spectators report any type of incident to the proper body is crucial, this can be the clubs themselves, there NGBs or other organisations. If a hate crime has occurred ensuring that it is reported to the Police is vital.
But how does this fall into PE lessons? When you move into Secondary school, you start finding out who you are, you figure out if you like girls or boys or both.
In the locker room and on the field we hear words like 'gay', 'fag', 'dyke' and more all of which are used in derogatory ways.
Teachers have a direct line to the students, they should have a policy in place, and if discrimination occurs, the student should not be allowed participate in any type of sport to re-enforce the concept of PE lessons being a safe place for LGBT+ people.
When we have 52% of gay people who play sport stay in the closet in fear of being bullied we have a problem. When we have 31% of gay people who play sports stay in the closet of fears about being discriminated against by their own coach and officials we have a problem. When we have 46% of gay people who stay in the closet of fear of rejection from their teammates we have a big problem. (source)
We need schools to be on the front-line of tackling homophobia in sport.
Sports and me
I love sport, I do sport, I learn about sport, but sport doesn't love me, sport doesn't want me, sport wants me nowhere near it.
Discrimination in sport is a major problem. Sports like Football (Soccer if you are American) need to do more to make their players feel safe. When you need LGBT Football Clubs something is wrong, we shouldn't need them but we do.
Sport should be inclusive, not discriminative.