Peter Tatchell: Commonwealth Games should require pledge against athlete selection discrimination

Peter Tatchell has said that the Commonwealth Games, due to be held in Glasgow this summer, should require countries to pledge not to discriminate in athlete selection.

The human rights campaigner told ITV News: “I totally support Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games, but I think they should require every participating nation to sign a declaration saying that they will not discriminate – on any grounds – in the selection of their athletes.

“Right now, most Commonwealth countries would never, ever, select an openly gay or lesbian athlete – no matter how good they are – and that is because of the deeply engrained homophobia in those countries. That is really unfair, it is not sporting and it should not be tolerated.”

Earlier this month, Tatchell wrote a letter to the Commonwealth Secretary, urging for Brunei to be suspended from the Commonwealth over a law calling for gays to be stoned to death.

Homophobia is rife across the Commonwealth, with laws criminalising homosexuality still in effect in 80% of Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Games, due to be held in Glasgow from July 23, will feature a Pride House, similar to those seen at the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics.

Scottish National Party MSP James Dornan wrote for Pink News in March that the Commonwealth Games should be used as an opportunity to pressure countries on LGBT rights, including challenging Uganda on its anti-gay law.