Scottish Rugby yesterday signed up as the newest signatory to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter at the home of rugby in Scotland, BT Murrayfield.
The Scottish LGBT Sports Charter was launched by the Equality Network, a Scottish LGBTI equality charity, and includes a set of five principles which aim remove the barriers to sport for LGBT people and tackle discrimination in sport.
Signing the charter on behalf of Scottish Rugby, Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer said “Scottish Rugby has had a long standing commitment to ensure access to our sport is open to everyone regardless of age, background, education or sexuality.
“We take a proactive approach to providing training and development for LGBT teams and encouraging the growth of rugby among the gay community.
“This is best demonstrated by our support of the bid to bring the prestigious Bingham Cup to Scotland and BT Murrayfield next year. Signing the Sport Charter therefore is a natural next step for us.”
Scottish Rugby is already a leader in LGBT inclusion in sport, with the governing body supporting the development of LGBTI clubs and development coaches having attended LGBTI training in the Borders. Scottish Rugby is also supporting a bid to bring the 2018 Bingham Cup, a biennial international gay rugby union tournament, to Scotland.
Scott Cuthbertson of the Equality Network, said: “We welcome Scottish Rugby as a signatory to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter. We know through our research that LGBT people in Scotland still face significant barriers to their full inclusion in sport.
“This charter is an important step to addressing those barriers, setting out positive steps that organisations can take to become more LGBT inclusive.
“Rugby, and its role models, have a huge impact in Scotland, today we’re sending the message loud and clear, Rugby is a welcoming sport regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity”
Attending the signing were Neil Fox, Captain of the Caledonian Thebans, Boris Pichotka and Munro Stevenson of the Glasgow Alphas, Scotland’s LGBT inclusive rugby clubs based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Alphas were set up in October last year and the Caledonian Thebans have recently returned from Nashville after winning the Hoagland Cup.
While there are no openly LGBT players in the professional rugby in Scotland there are signs of progress across the UK. Keegan Hirst (Rugby League) and Sam Stanley both came out in 2015 following in the footsteps of retired welsh international Gareth Thomas.