U.K. Sporting Bodies Sign Gay Charter

Gay rights campaigners have welcomed a new charter that aims to stamp out homophobia and transphobia within U.K. sports. The Charter for Action was signed this week by major sporting bodies including The Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union.

They join the Lawn Tennis Association and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in being the first major sports to sign up to the initiative. Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone has urged more associations, groups and individuals to add their signatures.

“Sport should be about what you can do, not who you are. But too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people feel that the sports field is not somewhere they can be themselves, and that prejudice and discrimination will mean their sexuality is always talked about more than their ability with a ball, bat or racket…” she said.

“Homophobia and transphobia has 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.”

Published this week, the charter is one part of a new action plan that sets out the government’s initiatives for supporting LGBT equality in the coming year.

Alex Horne, General Secretary of the Football Association, said “The FA and its stakeholders have worked hard over the years in providing football for all and ensuring that football stadia are open to everyone and are both family and LGTB friendly.

“We’ve seen real progress over the last 20 years when it comes to tackling racism and that’s something football should be proud of. We remain committed to our long-term goal of removing all forms of discrimination, such as homophobia, out of the game.”

We are all massive sports fans here in the gay chat team and have an appreciation for football, rugby, tennis etc that goes far beyond sitting on the sidelines! We’ve shown our support for the charter by visiting and liking the Charter for Action Facebook page. Why not sign up too and join us in supporting our out sports men and women? Game on!

Gary Cosby

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Rugby star Gareth Thomas suffers anti-Gay abuse from ‘fans’

Out gay rugby legend Gareth Thomas has spoken of his ‘hurt’ over homophobic taunts from fans at a recent match.

Thomas, 35, is the first ever professional rugby player to come out as gay. His announcement last December garnered immense media coverage and shocked the rugby world.

Since then Thomas has appeared on the covers of gay publications and has been vocal about his wish to become a role model for young gay players and an advocate for gay visibility in sports. 

In an interview with The Sunday Express the former Welsh Lions Star, who now plays for league side Crusaders, revealed how he was subjected to anti-Gay chants at a match last month.

Thomas, 35, said: “When I was on the field at Castleford I could hear some chants from a small section of the crowd.

“It wasn’t very nice and I was pretty hurt by what I could hear. I’m only human and I can’t deny I was hurt. I think the RFL have taken action against Castleford over their fans and I’ve been told there were people in the crowd telling those chanting to shut up.

“Perhaps we need to go through this so that those few people realize no on else will stand for it and then it hopefully won’t happen to the next person who comes out.”

Castleford received a fine from the RLC for its fans’ behaviour which will undoubtedly send a message to all rugby fans that homophobia will not be tolerated.

Thomas said in an exclusive with The Guardian this week: “Afterwards the Rugby League Commission fined Castleford. We went to Bradford the week after and I was told the stewards had been briefed that if there was any abuse aimed at me then they had to eject those fans because they didn’t want to be fined.

“The next [gay] person that follows me will be glad I’ve opened the door because they’re not going to get the same abuse.”

Thomas created sporting history in 2007 by becoming the first Welshman to win 100 international caps in rugby union. That same year he retired from international rugby and is currently winger for Celtic Crusaders.

By Gary Cosby

For weekly gay news, chat and soundbites visit www.maleforce.com

Related Links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/may/04/gareth-thomas-gay-interview-crusaders

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/172718