Homophobia in Sport Inquiry Launched

Friday, April 8, 2016 - 10:45

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee launches a short inquiry into 'Homophobia in Sport', taking into account a range of sports and the different experiences of men and women.

Inquiry background

The previous Culture, Media and Sport Committee conducted an inquiry on 'Racism in Football (PDF 465KB)' -  a key conclusion of which was that homophobia was identified as emerging as a bigger problem than other forms of discrimination.

With this in mind, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee is holding an inquiry to examine the issue of homophobia specifically, and to take into account a broader range of sports beyond football. It is notable 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.

Fear of openness about sexuality in sport

The Committee would also like to hear opinions on why sportspeople – often lauded as role models – are fearful of being open about their sexuality. Furthermore, taking into consideration the suicide rates among gay teenage boys (the demographic group with the highest rate of suicide in the country) the Committee would like to hear about how homophobia in sport feeds into a wider social context.

Call for written submissions

The Committee is interested in receiving written submissions on the subject, taking into consideration both personal experiences and general views or concerns. In particular, the Committee invites views on the areas listed below:

  • Looking at the experiences of gay sportsmen and sportswomen; what do these tell us about different sports and the progression of attitudes in general?
  • The approach of governance bodies throughout sport; how does homophobic abuse compare to other forms of harassment? How successful have governing bodies been in tackling this issue?
  • How is homophobia being tackled at school? What actions are taken by teachers and coaches involved in youth and amateur sport to ensure homophobia is challenged at any early stage?
  • Does football have a particular problem with homophobia in comparison to other sports?
  • Is homophobic abuse more of an issue in traditionally “masculine” sports? And looking specifically at the experience of women who play sport: is there more acceptance in the female game or is homophobia just as prevalent amongst women?
  • What effect has the advent of social media had on discrimination in sport, in general?

Respondents may comment on other aspects relevant to these issues.

Send a written submission through the Homophobia in Sport inquiry page

Deadline for written submissions is Friday 29 April 2016.

Chair's comment

Commenting on the inquiry, CMS Committee Chair Jesse Norman 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."

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