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A new report has concluded that the sporting world, from schools to professional clubs, is hostile towards gay people.

Sports coaches, teams and players are being urged to ban homophobic language so gay people can take part without feeling threatened.

The recommendation comes in a report, entitled ‘Homophobia, Gender and Sporting Culture’, which was launched by the charity Sport Allies on Thursday evening in the House of Commons.

The event was hosted by Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee chairman Damian Collins MP alongside the Wawrick Rowers whose famous naked calendars help fund Sport Allies.

The Warwick Rowers posing for their new calendar with some very lucky grapes – but the report launched on Thursday night had a serious message

The report, from Leeds Beckett University, states: “For many people in Western society, and especially those who identify as LGBT, the sporting world is a hostile and exclusive environment.

“From the ubiquitous threat of violence, to the routine use of homophobic language, the perceived “weakness” of being
anything less than the traditional masculine ideal is actively and aggressively policed and excluded.”

Editor-at-large of Out News Global Andy West given a lift by the Wawrick Rowers

The report was launched on the day we published our exclusive story that the number of openly gay professional footballers in the UK hiding their sexuality from fans could run to double figures.

In an exclusive interview with Andy West, the former Managing Director of Leeds United David Haigh said he knew at least 20 male Premier League and Championship footballers who are gay but they’re too afraid to come out.

The former Premiership executive said: “I know a lot and by a lot I’m saying double figures and personally I think if they all came out at the same time they’d be okay.”

At last night’s launch, football was the focus of everyone’s minds and a number of attendees speculated that footballers would soon be coming out, in spite of fears the FA wasn’t ready to offer them full support.

The Wawrick Rowers came together as LGBT+ allies to reaffirm their belief that homophobia is still a big problem in all sports and more needs to be done to tackle homophobic violence, language and attitudes.

The authors of the ‘Homophobia, Gender and Sporting Culture’ report, Adam Lowe MSc and Professor Brendan Gough, concluded: “Homophobic, sexist and heterosexist language should not be tolerated; commonly held misapprehensions based on gender should be challenged both by bystanders but also by providing an environment where those who challenge these misconceptions can flourish and have their achievements recognised.”


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