The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been drawing attention to gender-based violence and discrimination for many years. The Assembly is now working on a report titled “The fight for a level playing field – ending discrimination against women in the world of sport”, which will result in a resolution to be adopted by the Assembly in 2021.
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Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has revealed his views on why gay footballers in Britain do not come out, suggesting that there would be a fear amongst players of an ‘unforgiving’ reaction from rival supporters.
O’Neill added that he would be ‘very sensitive’ to the situation if one of his players told him he was gay.
Not his usual subject matter, the former Shamrock Rovers boss was talking about the issue as part of a sports panel on Radio Five Live yesterday.
The debate cropped up following the recent decision of Batley Bulldogs captain Keegan Hirst to announce that he was gay, becoming the first British rugby league player to do so.
Asked if such a revelation would happen soon in British football, O’Neill said: “I think we are still a bit away to be honest.
“I think the main thing in football for players isn’t their team-mates or the environment of the dressing room, I think it is the possibly the environment of the stadium which I still think for a footballer coming out would be pretty unforgiving.
“I don’t think opposition fans are going to be particularly sympathetic to that, particularly if it is someone very high profile.
“It is quite sad that we are talking about this, but footballers would be a lot more wary and I don’t see that changing in the short term.
“As a manager if a player came to me I would have to be very sensitive to how he wanted to go forward with it.”
Reprinted from GayTimes Blog
“…men in their underwear, cuddling angrily…”
Scotland’s first openly gay wrestler Christopher Saynt has joined forces with LGBT students last week in addressing major concerns about LGBT participants in the sport.
Taking place at the National Union of Students [NUS[ Scotland LGBT Conference on 10 April, it was found that young gay people find taking part in sport “intimidating” and “discriminatory” because of negative associated stereotypes.
A report, found by the NUS, found that homophobia still prevents many LGBT students from getting actively involved in sports activities, with only a third of students participating in organised team sport.
Lani Baird, NUS Scotland LGBT Officer, said: “So many young LGBTQI people still don’t feel like sports is for them. it’s great to see someone like Christopher Saynt challenge the negative stereotypes and assumptions that are still attached to sport, wrestling in particular.”
Christopher Saynt is going against the stereotype that has been attached to sports culture in Scotland and the rest of the UK. At the conference, he spoke of his own experiences in coming out to the sporting world….
“I can’t pretend it was easy coming out as gay to the wrestling community, and I worried about whether I’d be accepted by fans and fellow my colleagues have been really supportive, some people have struggled to accept my sexuality.” Christopher has also received hate mail and negative responses, but he does not want that to deter wannabe sportsmen.
“When it comes down to it – wrestling is a bunch of men in their underwear, cuddling angrily. It would be hugely hypocritical to have homophobia within our sport. We need to stop judging others on outdated stereotypes. As a proud and openly gay wrestler – I hope I can play a big part in that.”
Words Rebecca Peel, @BeccaPeel