Words: Steve Brown
Only 25 per cent of British people admitted to being confident enough to intervene when hearing homophobic abuse at sports events.
The UK’s leading LGBT charity, Stonewall, released new research results that show that there are a group of ‘hesitant allies’ within the British public who want to help LGBT people who are being abused, including in sport.
The results found that more than half of British people (58 per cent) believe if someone uses the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way during live sports events they should be challenged and around 53 per cent agreed that there is a responsibility to call out any homophobic abuse.
However, the study also found only a quarter of people (25 per cent) feel confident enough to challenge and intervene when they hear the abuse.
The research also found that the public want to see more LGBT inclusion at all levels of sport with nearly two thirds (63 per cent) said local sports clubs should be welcoming of LGBT people.
Stonewall is now calling for fans and athletes to be ‘active allies’ and to take action to support LGBT people in sport through this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign – which will be running until December 7.
Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: “Sport is one of our strongest tools for social change, which is why it’s so powerful to see so many people wanting to do more to support LGBT people and challenge anti-LGBT abuse in sport.
“This year we want our Rainbow Laces campaign to give people confidence to show their visible support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, either on or off the pitch.
“Our research shows what a huge appetite there is among people to kick discrimination out of sports at all levels.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen inspiring work from many sporting associations who are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
“We want more players, fans, clubs and organisations to join in and understand how they can play a part in changing attitudes and standing up for LGBT equality.
“Our work won’t be finished until every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person, from fans to players, are accepted without exception.”