The Culture Media and Sports Committee launched an inquiry into homophobia in sport earlier this month, which aims to consider how orientation-based prejudice occurs across a range of sports and will examine the different experiences of men and women.
The committee will investigate what the experiences of “gay sportsmen and sportswomen” say about societal attitudes generally, whether governing bodies have been effective at challenging homophobia within their sports, how homophobia is being challenged within schools and whether football has a particular problem.
The committee notes that “there are currently no openly gay footballers in Scotland and England’s professional divisions and homophobic abuse remains commonplace at matches and online. It is also the case that abusive posts are sent to football players on social media once every 2.6 minutes.”
The committee is also interested in ascertaining whether there is more acceptance of homosexuality within women’s football, and what the effect of social media has been on discrimination in sport.
A previous inquiry into racism in football, conducted between 2012 and 2013, identified homophobia as “emerging as a bigger problem than other forms of discrimination”.
Commenting on the inquiry, the Committee Chair Jesse Norman MP said: “Sport is hugely important to many people, but it is clear that homophobia remains a serious issue across a wide range of British sports. The Committee intends to examine why this is so and what can be done to address it. We are particularly interested in looking at the possible differences between sports, and sports governing bodies, and between the experiences of sportsmen and sportswomen.”
The committee is interested in receiving written submissions from people with both personal experience and with general concerns. They are particular interested to hear from those actively involved in sport. Written submissions can be made via the UK Parliament’s website.
LEAP Sports Scotland, which aims to improve LGBTI participation in sport, has also created a short survey through which you can forward your own views. While the committee’s focus is primarily on homophobia rather than gender and orientation-based prejudice more generally (so as to include biphobia, transphobia or even sexism), LEAP Sports recognises that “experiences of biphobia and transphobia and issues around sex, gender and gender identity will be interrelated to many people’s experiences. Therefore we are not limiting our submission simply to issues of homophobia.”