Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone chose an LGBT History Month sponsored event to launch an LGBT charter in Sport, on Sunday afternoon.
The charter, which will invite national governing bodies of sports to commit to tackling homophobia and transphobia and making sport ‘a welcoming environment for LGB and T people’, was announced by the minister as she attended a Sheffield Eagles rugby league game at Bramall Lane.
The Eagles wore shirts with the slogan ‘Homophobia – Tackle It’ as they played against rivals Widnes Vikings. Fans were told that the event was in aid of tackling homophobia and the event drew statements of support from out sportspeople Gareth Thomas, John Amaechi, Clare Balding and Steven Davies.
Elton John also voiced his support in a message from the US where he is currently touring. Waterloo Road’s Scott Haining – who is outspoken about the importance of challenging homophobia – attended the event and proudly wore his LGBT History Month badge.
Education unions joined forces with LGBT History Month and Pride Sport in this ground-breaking event to educate the sports community. The match was sponsored by LGBT History Month and Pride Sport, together with the National Union of Teachers, the NASUWT, the University and College Union and Unison.
Featherstone echoed the prime minister’s commitment to making sport safer and more welcoming to LGBT people. She was optimistic about the new charter:
“Homophobia and transphobia have 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.”
The theme of LGBT History Month 2011 and 2012 is sport. Co-chair Tony Fenwick was proud of their achievements in the first year:
“After some amazing sporting events in February, History Month went into extra time for this final fixture. All the players and fans I spoke to were completely supportive.
“The charter is just what we need to help sport move forward into the Olympic year.”