Trade unions meet to tackle homophobia in sport

A fringe meeting to discuss tackling homophobia and transphobia in sport is to be held at the TUC’s annual conference in Liverpool.

The meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday and is supported by Liverpool Football Club.

It is open to everyone. Speakers will include the Football Association’s spokesmen Mark Hardcastle and Dave Raval, and Professional Footballers’ Association representative Simone Pound. Also speaking will be Kick it Out! campaign director Piara Powar and Rugby Football League spokeswoman Sarah Williams.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While there have been big advances in LGBT equality over the past ten years, professional sport remains one of the last bastions of homophobia and transphobia.

“There are hundreds of LGBT professional sportsmen and women, but due to the extreme prejudice that exists in sport the majority are unable to reveal their sexuality for fear of discrimination or attack.

“Unions are now joining the campaign to rid sport of this bigotry and intolerance, so that sportsmen and women no longer face harassment, intimidation, ridicule, violence or ostracism simply because of their sexuality.”

Last month, a Stonewall report found that homophobia is endemic in football and clubs are not doing enough to tackle the issue.

‘Leagues Behind’ found that homophobia was still widespread in the sport, despite advances in tackling issues such as racism.

The 2,000 straight and gay fans questioned felt that abusive chants from fans were one of the biggest issues, while one in four thought the sport was anti-gay.

The meeting will be held at 5.30pm at the Jury’s Inn Hotel, Liverpool L3 4FN.