Launch of the OUT! Project Good Practice Handbook : Fighting homophobia and empowering LGBT+ stakeholders in football
On 11 December, Sport and Citizenship attended the closing event of the OUT! Project co-hosted by the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup and Sports Intergroup. This was an opportunity to launch the OUT! Project Good Practice Handbook on fighting homophobia and empowering LGBT+ stakeholders in football, the product of 18 months of work and transnational network meetings bringing together football clubs, fan organisations and Human Rights Watch.
The event was comprised of two panel debates. Panel 1 was moderated by Mark Doidge (University of Brighton) and presented the OUT! Project results, recommendations, and the handbook. Panel 2, moderated by Martin Endemann (Project coordinator at Football Supporters Europe) focused on the topic of international footballing competitions and safeguarding of LGBT+ stakeholders. Panellists emphasised the importance to keep this conversation going especially right now, because of the number of major sporting events coming along. They also examined the challenges associated with upcoming sporting mega-events being held in non-LGBT+ friendly environments.
The positive developments in the fight against LGBT-phobia in football is promising and inspiring. For Yves Le Lostecque (Head of Unit of Sports Policy at the European Commission), sport is now fully recognised as a tool to fight inequality, making this kind of projects very pertinent. There are a lot of proactive football associations, leagues, and clubs, and the handbook highlights their good work. However, all panellists stressed the fact that although progress is being made, homophobia in sport is still a pressing problem in both amateur and professional sport.
Sport and Citizenship has been working on the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in sport for years and is committed to fight for the empowerment of LGBT+ stakeholders in sport. The 43rd issue of our journal was dedicated to sport and diversity, with a specific focus on the 10th edition of the Gay Games. Moreover, our Think tank will soon publish a document and organise an exhibition on the subject of diversity in sport in partnership with the FIER Foundation and the DILCRAH.