Monday 07-12-2015 - 15:04
Lets KO LGBTphobia in sport once and for all.
For many students, sport is an important part of college and university life. Yet, many lesbian, gay, bi and trans students feel excluded or uncomfortable participating in sport because of factors including the culture, structure, and physical environment in which sport takes place.
One of my priorities since becoming involved in LGBT activism was breaking down the barriers to sport for the LGBT community. We have made huge advances with representation within many sports and sports players over the past few years. No more so than Nicola Adams the LGBT Boxing Olympic Gold medallist. However the recent decision from the BBC to consider Tyson Fury as a candidate for Sports Personality of the Year has completely undermined the hard work and struggle facing LGBT athletics and potential future athletes in one right hook.
The NUS LGBT+ campaign released ground breaking research into this very topic. We found that 46% of LGBT students don’t participate in sport and find the culture around sport alienating and unwelcoming. 41% had a negative experience at school which meant that they didn’t want to get involved at college or University.
Universities and colleges have long been one of the places where people try a sport for the first time. We must create an environment where people from all walks of life feel comfortable signing up to sports teams. But when we have leading sports players that openly discriminate against the LGBT community this only furthers the marginalisation of LGBT people from even thinking of joining the sport. We must go further to challenge these types of comments made by some athletes that are derogatory and degrading. The very last thing I would be doing is cheering them on as Sports ‘Personality’ of the Year.
Though for many people, I accept they believe this should be a conversation about the sport and not what behaviours are made by the athletes themselves. But if young people, and even adults watched Tyson Fury’s boxing match at the weekend and want to get involved – that is a good thing. What we have to consider is when those who were watching associate that sport with his views. There is a strong risk that if we endorse an environment which is anti-LGBT many young people will not take up the sport.
“Sport needs to be an inclusive space for all – this takes place during the game and after. Many young LGBT people may now consider boxing no longer a sport that they can participate in, and that is not good for equality or the sport itself. More needs to be done around governing organisations for sports to not only call out these blatant abhorrent quotes, but also to sanction those who are offending. I would like to see not only the BBC remove Tyson from the shortlist but also England Boxing to hold Fury to account for these remarks. ”
- Robbiie Young, NUS LGBT+ Officer
We must continue to lobby the BBC to get Tyson Fury off the short list and work alongside him to ensure that these views do not go unchallenged. Much of the work that we do as LGBT activists is around education and challenging dangerous and deeply hurtful opinions. To ensure that Tyson doesn’t continue to perpetuate not only the further barriers to LGBT participation and sport, but society as a whole, let’s make sure the doors of our sports halls are open to everyone!
You can find a link to the online petition here - https://www.change.org/p/the-bbc-should-remove-homophobic-tyson-fury-from-sports-personality-of-the-year-shortlist