Discrimination against gay athletes on sports agenda

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At a recent sports conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, hundreds of leading media professionals, academics, and officials met to discuss controversial issues in the sports world.

Among those topics, which included changes to the current doping policy, was addressing the discrimination against the growing number of gay athletes.

“Play the Game” is an independent institution which aims to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport and encourage democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in world sport.

Over the past 10 years, the conference has achieved a unique status as “the only platform in international sport where qualified critics and high-ranking sports officials engage in unrestricted and constructive debates about the main challenges to modern sport,” according to the forum website.

Canadian Roger LeBlanc, a leading researcher in the field of gay athletes, addressed a growing concern, which he referred to as “the conspiracy to silence gay athletes.”

“Many homosexuals stop doing sport in their teenage years because they feel tyrannised or left out by their team players.

“In defiance of that, homosexuality is getting more acceptable in society, it doesn’t seem to be the case in the athlete world.

“Primarily in male contact team sports,” he said in his speech to the committee.

LeBlanc stated that while many sports organisations don’t specifically exclude gay athletes, they don’t have a policy to include them and create an environment where it is possible to be open about their sexuality.

As the 2008 Beijing Olympics approaches, LeBlanc and the forum organisers encourage athletic organisations to help end discrimination by allowing an open door policy of discussing discrimination issues.

Dylan Vox © 2007 GayWired.com; All Rights Reserved.