That kiss at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony!
In recent months that saw the comings out of swimmer Ian Thorpe and footballer Thomas Hitzelberger, the big gay kiss at the Commonwealth Games, activist skater and commentator Johnny Weir in drag at the Sochi Olympics and more cheerful stripping by the Warwick Rowers, the sporting routes to combatting homophobia have become more eclectic than ever.
A Warwick Rower makes an impact on Sir Ian and Kylie.
Here in the UK, politicians have been quick to add their voices, with all three party leaders weighing in. Nick Clegg used the Commonwealth Games to highlight the reperessive legislation still in place in 42 out of the 53 countries invited to the Games, David Cameron was "proud of this country's record of advancing LGBT equality" as seen at Brighton Pride and even David Miliband revisited his new found empathy to record a video to declare that there is still "much more to do" on the issue.
The question we continue to confront is: do these disparate efforts help? Here come two contrasting viewpoints.
Hitzelsberger, out in January.
A German footballer using the psedonym Nico, and currently playing in Germany’s Under 19 Bundesliga, has commented that conditions had actually worsened since the former West Ham and Everton player, Thomas Hitzlperger, came out. Nico's teammates even ceased to shower naked with him when he was revelaed as gay.
“After Thomas Hitzlsperger’s coming out we hoped that there would be some changes, but....homophobia in the stands has got worse. In the last few weeks, homophobic chants could be heard in Bundesliga stadiums again. Coming out is far more difficult when you are insulted on the pitch. There are the usual sayings … ‘you faggot!’ These are things that won’t change. But it is difficult to blank out such things when you hear them every day. That’s the problem.”
As we have commented before, "the beautiful game" sadly lags so many other sports in yielding up its gay stars. There's not much sign of change on this particular horizon.
Proudly announcing the Bingham Cup 2014
By way of a contrast, advance publicity for the 2014 Bingham Cup, the world cup of gay rugby, sounds a more positive note. To be held in Sydney from August 24 to 31, the sponsors include Destination NSW as the Strategic Partner, and heavyweights Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and aussieBum as Principal Partners. Approximately 1,000 players and supporters are expected to attend as well as international gay media
In the lead-up to the tournament, the Bingham Cup team has organised numerous initiatives and events. These include a commitment by the head of all major professional Australian sports to eliminate homophobia, the launch of the world’s first study on homophobia in sport and the recent game played by the Sydney Convicts as part of a professional sporting match. Financial support from sponsors goes toward supporting these initiatives and the week of festivities and rugby games.
Big businesses declare their committment with enthusiaism. Sean Ashby, from aussieBum said, "Along with equal marriage rights, supporting the LGBT sports community is so important to me and aussieBum are proud to be supporting this great platform for sporting achievements in the gay community”. As well as helping to host the events on Bondi,aussieBum will also add to the kitbags of players on the winning team with their innovative products. Lucky players!
Ian Thorpe, just out, walks the flag at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
In this ever more connected world the fight against homophobia must and will continue. Sharing our experiences, allying with powerful and comitted organisation and individuals, seizing every possibility to shake the complacent from their apathy and the antagonists from their hatred, all this will eventually bear fruit. Hopefully
Join our mailing list
- December 30th, 2016
- December 1st, 2016
- October 29th, 2016
- October 1st, 2016
- August 31st, 2016
- July 23rd, 2016