Timeline of Responses to Homophobia and Transphobia in sport
FIRST: newspaper investigation into homophobia in sport and the harm to gay athletes
Lynn Rosellini’s Washington Star (now closed) series was the first media investigation into attitudes toward gay people in sport, and the discrimination that gay people experience.
Key findings: the stories described hostility and unwillingness amongst sport leaders to protect gay athletes from discrimination, who hide their sexualities and fear losing their places on teams. As is the case in 2021, there were no openly gay athletes in the Big Four American sport leagues.
There was national outrage over Star’s articles, with many unwilling to accept- ‘there are “perverts” in the NFL’ Washington Post Story on the events
FIRST: Athlete comes out as gay in professional sport
NFL player David Kopay was the first professional athlete, male or female, to come out. His decision has been named the #1 event in LGBT sport history.
About: Kopay came out after reading the wave of hate and denial in response to the Washington Star article. His decision made him a target of global hate and he could not find work, until his uncle gave him a job selling linoleum flooring. However, he continued to speak out about homophobia in sport and gay rights, generally, including writing a book on the topic and chapters in academic text books.
Stories about Kopay are a powerful illustration of the lack of change over the last 44 years:
- 1977 (Washington Post): Kopay story tells of his struggle to be truthful
- 1988: (Seattle Times): David Kopay: Only NFL Player to open the door
- 1997 (NY Times): For gays in team sports, still a deafening silence
- 2012 (GQ): The NFLs closet case
- 2020 (NY Post): Years after coming out, gay athletes upset by lack of change
FIRST: Court case over homophobia in sport – Canadian Athlete
Canadian horse racing jockey and respected judge John Damian was fired for being gay. He filed a wrongful dismissal case that took a decade to settle.
About: The discrimination that gay people experience in sport was extensively documented in court submissions and many media stories. Sport leaders fought back hard at every turn. Damien as “ruined financially” and his health suffered. He died shortly after settling for one-year’s wages in 1986.
More info: John Damian, Canada’s forgotten hero
FIRST: Study of the population size of gay and bisexual athletes
Sport leaders and the public strongly denied Kopay’s claims of other gay NFL players. Garner and Smith surveyed American college football players to test his claims.
Key finding: The researchers described a “startling” response to their anonymous surveys about “male sexual behavior.” They originally planned to conduct surveys at one college to test Kopay’s claims. They expanded to other schools to confirm their findings (remember: this was at a time when homosexuality was illegal). Of the 82 American college football players at three schools who completed the surveys 36% reported having had sex with another man at least once in the last two years. Current research (2019) by the CDC reports 15% of high-school aged young people are not heterosexual.
Full study: Scientific Journal Website
FIRST: Court ruling that trans women cannot be excluded from female sport
Transgender athlete Renee Richards took US Tennis to court after she was banned from competing as a woman in the US Open. Sport leaders strongly fought the case up to the NY Supreme Court.
About: In 1977 (a highly conservative era) the NY Supreme Court considered detailed evidence about both potential advantage, and also harm from exclusion. It ruled sport organizations cannot discriminate against trans women. This issue is not new to the courts or the media, as the video above illustrates.
Important: The issue of transgender inclusion in sport is not new and historical context needs to be provided. It has been going in circles for nearly a half a century. There has been little research conducted to try to resolve these issue and no research has generated evidence that might have changed the NY Supreme Court’s 1977 decision. Despite this, trans women and young people, a highly marginalized group at very high risk of suicide, which could greatly benefit from playing sports, constantly and repeatedly have to fight the exact same fight, against the same arguments considered in 1977, for their right to play sport.
FIRST: Openly gay female professional athletes
Tennis stars Billie Jean King was outed and Martina Navratilova came out.
About: The events are a catalyst for extensive media, academic, and sport industry documentation and discussion of the stigma and discrimination that lesbians experience in sport, and why it is harmful to all women. Billie Jean also published a book that discussed the relationship between homophobia and sexism.
FIRST: Gay Games faces wrath of Olympic organizers
Olympian Tom Waddell and others organized the first Gay Games to create a safe space where LGBT athletes can compete.
About: Their plans, and a court case by Olympic officials, generated extensive media coverage and public discussion about why gay people need “special” treatment and their own international tournament. Organizers decided to drop “Olympic” due to threats of court action and public backlash.
Despite the negative press: the Games have consistently been used as a vehicle to raise awareness of homophobia in sport, and also conduct research with LGBT athletes. This includes the Out on the Fields study.
More info: Research by Australian academic Caroline Symons investigated the benefits of the Gay Games
FIRST: For many things in male sport
Thousands of news stories, academic articles, government reports, and feature movies have provided a detailed account of Justin Fashanu’s courageous decision to come out while still playing professional soccer.
What: Fashanu was one of the best soccer players in the world and remains one of the only athletes to come out while still playing his sport. He was also the first openly gay black athlete. Justin’s decision helped elevate homophobia in sport, and the harm to gay athletes, into mainstream public consciousness in soccer-mad Europe. 30 years later people still talk about him and he remains the only active top tier pro football player to come out.
FIRST: Australian male athlete and Rugby League player
Ian Roberts was the second male athlete in the world to come out while still actively playing.
About: Roberts decision generated extensive media and public commentary in Australia and throughout the Commonwealth. Like Kopay before him, Roberts has a reputation as one of the toughest and most aggressive players in his sport. Roberts helped to shift negative stereotypes and perceptions about gay men in Australia and received strong support from high profile figures in his sport.
“Empty promises from sport leaders“ is how Roberts describes the numerous unfulfilled pledges to address homophobia in sport. Academics have used identical words. The lack of progress, and the suicide of an Australian gay boy who was bullied, recently spurred Roberts to begin speaking out more often about the need to identify ways to generate action and actual change.
FIRST: Canadian male Olympian
Mark Tesksbury became one of only two elite Canadian male athletes to come out. He often talks about the mystery of the missing Canadian athletes.
Key findings: Numerous academic articles and media stories in Canada have highlighted the disconnect between Canada’s reputation as a friendly and inclusive country, yet there is a near total absence of any openly gay or bisexual males in its professional sports, particularly in ice hockey. The NHL is the only professional league without any gay or bisexual male players, and Canada is the only other western country to never have had a gay or bisexual male come out in professional sports. The other country is New Zealand.
Justin Fashanu found dead from suicide
Justin Fashanu’s death is used in the UK as a cautionary tale about the dangers of coming out in sport and the need to protect athletes from discrimination.
About: Fashanu took his life after he was accused of having sex with a minor (17 years old). He would have to face a judge in a homophobic, racist, and conservative part of the United States. Fashanu was recently inducted into Britain’s National Football Hall of Fame on the 30th anniversary of him coming out. He is recognized for his bravery and the many sacrifices he made to raise awareness of the need for change.
FIRST: National government tells sports they must stop homophobic and transphobic behavior
The Australian Government set a global legal precedent by becoming the first to clearly tell sports organizations that they must take action on homophobia and transphobia.
What: Australia issued national “Guidelines to address homophobia and sexuality discrimination in sport” which told sports organizations that any failure to stop this form of discrimination, as well as discrimination against transgender people, is a violation of the country’s human rights laws. Case studies were also provided to help sports managers understand their legal obligations. (read guidelines)
Consistent evidence that homophobic behavior remains common in Australian sport, and LGBTQ children feel unsafe, has led to recent discussions about using the courts to drive action and ensure sport organizations understand their legal duty to protect young people from harm.
FIRST: Pride game held by a professional sport team
The Chicago Cubs, struggling at the time financially, hold the first annual pride game (called Rainbow Laces in other countries).
The club saw holding an annual game as a way to attract new fans. This is the primary motivation of most clubs and teams. Pride games have proven lucrative and teams around the world now hold them (called Rainbow Laces in UK). This includes almost all professional sports team in North America.
More info: Pride Game Origin
FIRST: Legal defence fund focuses on protecting LGBT athletes in sport
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a legal defence fund, began the Sports Project to protect the rights of lesbian coaches and players.
About: The NCLR has led numerous wrongful dismissal and discrimination cases against NCAA schools and other colleges and universities on behalf of lesbian coaches and players (see 2009). The threat of legal liability and the actual court actions have been critical to drive attention to LGBTQ issues and allocation of funding to this issue. Unfortunately, much of that funding has gone to create ‘manuals’ and ‘guides,’ such as a 92-page NCAA manual on LGBTQ inclusion (see 2012). We now know these types of resources are not used by coaches.
FIRST: UK Sport Minister says ending homophobia is of “great importance”
The Times of London, one of the most influential papers in the world, published an investigative series on homophobia in sport.
Key findings: The stories contain descriptions of sport which are nearly identical to those in the 1975 Washington Stars articles. Britain’s Sport Minister Richard Carbon read the series and pledge to take action and ensure the FA solves this issue of “great importance” (Times Article)
Progress: See 2004, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2020
FIRST: Statistics on LGB youth harassment in school sport settings
Diane Elze conducted the first quantitative research with American LGB youth. Previous studies used qualitative methods, with small samples, due to recruitment challenges.
Key finding: 60% of young people reported some form of sexuality-based victimization in school. Sport settings were identified as a prime setting for victimization to occur. Half of participants (49%) reported sexuality-based harassment in school locker rooms. More recent research has found an even higher proportion of students report this behavior in school sports settings.
FIRST: English FA commitment to “lead” Europe in ending homophobia
The English Football Association said it is leading European efforts to end homophobia in sport.
The FA also said it takes the need to address this form of discrimination seriously. Archive of FA Website
Progress 2004 – 2021? None. See later dates.
Is this assessment scientifically peer-reviewed? Yes
FIRST: pro league to ban homophobic discrimination
The National Hockey League was the first professional sport league to include a ban on discriminatory behaviors based on sexuality in its player contracts.
Progress 2005 – 2021: Homophobic language is rare amongst NHL players, but very common in lower-tier pro leagues and in amateur ice hockey globally
Is this assessment scientifically peer-reviewed? Yes (learn more)
FIRST: IOC Scientific Consensus Statement on homophobia in sport
The International Olympic Committee’s Scientific Panel released a Consensus Statement which defines homophobia as ‘sexual harassment/abuse.’
The IOC Panel also said sport governing bodies have a legal requirement, and ethical obligation as member countries. to prevent discrimination against LGBT people because it can cause them mental and physical harm.
Progress 2007 – 2021: The IOC has released two subsequent Consensus Statements (2016/2019). They find no change. See later years.
FIRST: NCAA leader pledge to address homophobia
NCAA Exec Director Myles Brand becomes the first American sport leader to publicly pledge to address homophobia and stop the exclusion of people due to their sexuality.
Brand has been praised for his genuine desire promote inclusion, though his comments also helped to mitigate legal risk. At the time, NCAA schools were fighting multiple court cases by lesbian coaches for wrongful dismissal.
Progress 2007 – 2021? Limited. The NCAA’s trans inclusion policy has been praised, however, lesbian coaches continue to experience discrimination and stigma, homophobic language remains common, and there is no dedicated funding pools or focus on LGBTQ issues across all divisions.
Is this assessment scientifically peer-reviewed? Yes, multiple studies (learn more)
FIRST: Comprehensive & international investigation into research and action on homophobia in sport
UK Government sport agencies commissioned legendary child safety expert Celia Brackenridge to lead an international review and investigation into why homophobia remains problematic. Her team systematically searched for research, conducted interviews with a range of stakeholders, and examined the international responses of sport organizations and governments.
- The researchers found and reviewed 600+ pieces of research and conducted interviews/surveys;
- Homophobic attitudes and behaviors are harmful to the mental and physical health of LGBT people, but also impact everyone;
- There is a lack of leadership and interest by sport leaders and government policy makers to fix problem;
- Discrimination against LGBTQ people is ignored because sport leaders claim they lack evidence of a problem or uncertainty about solutions
Progress 2008 – 2021: Most (60-70%) of the recommendations have not been implemented, and have been made repeatedly by others since.
MANY: discrimination lawsuits filed against universities
Lesbian basketball coach Lorri Sulpizio is one of many coaches and athletes who have filed discrimination claims against NCAA and other schools.
The coaches that have filed the claims had been awarded millions by 2009, and there have been many more large awards in the years since, though these types of cases are now rare. Typically female coaches are simply no longer hired.
FIRST: UK Sport joint commitment to “rid their sports of homophobia and transphobia”
Under pressure from the UK Government’s Home Office, the leaders of the English Football Association, Rugby Football Union, Rugby Football League, England/Wales Cricket, and British Tennis signed a joint “charter” and committed to rid their sports of homophobia and transphobia.
Progress 2011 – 2021? A UK Parliamentary Inquiry in 2017, and peer-reviewed research in 2020, found little evidence of change or progress.
Is this assessment scientifically peer-reviewed? Yes (learn more)
FIRST: Major fine for homophobic slur and TV campaign run by the NBA
The National Basketball Association fined Kobe Bryant $100K for using a homophobic slur during a game.
The League’s Commissioner also said homophobic language ‘is not tolerated’ and supported TV ads on harm from using casual (‘that’s gay’) homophobic language in sport.
Progress 2011 – 2021: Kobe Bryant became a strong LGBTQ advocate until his death, and there have only been a few similar incidents since at the professional level, but a 2017 UK Parliamentary Inquiry heard it is still common in the game basketball.
San Fran Giants record “It Gets Better” video
San Fran Giants pitcher Barry Zito and other players record an It Gets Better video for LGBT kids after fans created a petition asking them to send encouragement to young people experiencing discrimination. Numerous media outlets run stories about the lack of openly gay players.
America’s Big Four add sexuality to anti-discrimination policies
MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL include sexuality in their collective agreements with players, which protects them from discrimination in states without this protection, but also requires players to act in non-discriminatory ways.
NCAA releases 92 page manual on LGBTQ inclusion
NCAA releases detailed 92 page Champions of Inclusion manual to its member schools which outlines their legal obligation to proactively stop homophobic behavior and discrimination experienced by LGBTQ. The manual also contains recommendations on how to promote inclusive LGBTQ sport climates
THIRD: English FA commitment to eliminate homophobia
The FA, in partnership with all major football bodies (Premier League, EFL, and unions) release “Opening Doors and Joining In”
The football bodies again committed to eliminate homophobia and created “a detailed 21 page ‘action plan 2012-16’ to tackle homophobia.”
Progress to 2021? Not implemented. Peer-reviewed analyses found many claims made in a 2013 progress report were unsupported by evidence. See later dates for further detail.
Is this assessment scientifically peer-reviewed? Yes
FIRST: Canadian national governing body pledges to fight homophobia/transphobia
Volleyball Canada released LGBTQ inclusion guidelines which included a commitment to fight homophobia and transphobia, a few months before Chris Voth, one of the national team members, came out.
Surprising: Although Canada has a reputation as a welcoming and inclusive country, Volleyball was and remains the only national governing body to publicly commit to acting on homophobia. In similar countries, such as the UK, Australia, and NZ, most major governing bodies have at least publicly committed to address the unique discrimination and abuse that LGBTQ people experience in sport, though meaningful action has been limited.
FIRST: Major court ruling on homophobia and obligations of sport organizations
The EU’s Court of Justice rules that the burden of proof falls onto sport clubs to prove they have taken action on homophobia.
About: If a sport team receives a complaint about homophobic, the team must be able to demonstrate it has taken action on this form of discrimination. Sport lawyers sound alarm due to the potential far-reaching consequences. It is unclear if this court ruling, and the lawyer warnings, played a role in sport leaders globally beginning to make public commitments to eliminate homophobia, particularly within the Euro-centric sport of rugby union.
FIRST: American Attorney General threatens NFL with investigation
New York’s Attorney General sent a letter to the National Football League asking for information and threatening an investigation into homophobic behavior and treatment of gay athletes. after he received complaints from player prospects that recruiters were asking questions about sexuality.
About: The Attorney General had received complains from player prospects that recruiters were asking them question about their sexuality. The NFL agreed to change its hiring policies, provide training to staff and owners (unclear if this was a one-off event), and ‘engage’ with the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ leaders responded by calling for the NFL’s Commissioner to make public commitments to end homophobia and proactively support closeted gay players.
Progress 2013 – 2020: The NFL changed its policies and provided education to owners and staff in 2013. Legendary NFL player David Kopay, the first athlete to come out in the world as gay, said the League did little more until 2020. Driven by an LGBT employee group formed in 2017. the NFL announced a broad range of activities in 2020, including proactive support of closeted gay players. Unfortunately, many of the activities it has announced have proven to be ineffective, or may make problems worse (e.g. diversity training). or research is needed to determine if there are any benefits (e.g. Ally program).
FIRST: Major American sport league forms partnership with LGBT sport advocacy group
The National Hockey League was the first major league to sign a formal partnership and funding agreement with an LGBTQ sport organization, and dedicate significant resources (relative to other areas of diversity) toward ending homophobia.
About: The NHL partnered with You Can Play (co-founded by gay amateur hockey players and sport executives and Brian/Patrick Burke (high profile NHL execs) and the organization drove the first league-wide adoption of pride games, developed education programs for NHL players, and pioneered using videos to raise awareness featuring celebrity players.
Progress: The NHL has not achieved its main goal of encouraging gay pro players to come out, but it is unique in that it has fulfilled all of its funding and implementation commitments. Peer-reviewed studies describe the NHL as the only sports league in the world to demonstrate consistent interest in ending homophobia. Learn more here.
FIRST: Leaders of all major national sports sign formal commitment on national TV
Leaders of Australia’s five major professional sports signed a joint commitment, broadcast live on national TV, to adopt a range of policies and programs and “eliminate” homophobia.
Progress reports have found action has been limited since this commitment, with one study describing the commitments as “lip service or happy talk,” one finding LGBTQ issues remain “largely ignored” with little meaningful action, and another finding action has been “ad hoc” and poorly supported.
FIRST: Major sport world governing body commits to end homophobia
World Rugby was the first world governing body to sign a formal commitment to ‘eliminate’ homophobia and agreed work closely with, and consult, International Gay Rugby (an international rugby organization).
Progress: World Rugby held meetings, and created quite a few internal documents and plans, but has not put any dedicated funding or resources toward solving this problem and no effective programs created. National unions have started developing programs on their own in Australia and Canada. World Rugby also banned trans women using widely criticized research (see 2019 IOC decision)
FIRST: American governing body signs homophobia commitment
USA Rugby was the first American national governing body to sign a formal commitment develop policies and programs to end homophobia.
About: The MoU committed USA Rugby to dedicate resources and focus to this area of diversity and work with the LGBTQ rugby community to find solutions.
FIRST: Pro hockey team uses Pride Tape
The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers became the first pro team to use Pride Tape.
Over the last five years, all 31 NHL teams use Pride Tape as a symbol of support for the LGBTQ community and the first hockey stick used now sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The In 2019, Kurtis Gabriel became the first NHL player to use Pride Tape in a regular season game. You can read more about the history, and the amazing work of Dr. Kris Wells who started this movement here.
SECOND IOC Scientific Consensus Statement on LGBTQ discrimination
A second Consensus Statement from the IOC’s Scientific Panel says LGBTQ people need special protection in sports due to the uniquely high-risk they will experience physical and psychological abuse from others.
Key Findings: The IOC scientists also found the continued discrimination experienced by LGBTQ people in sport is due to a lack of effective “leadership by the major international and national sport organisations” which have a legal obligation to protect these athletes.
THIRD time that all major sports in a country (NZ) commit to end homophobia
New Zealand’s six major sports publicly committed to address homophobia in sport and set a deadline for a strategy of 31 Dec, 2016.
About: Led by Rugby NZ, the governing bodies formed a task force to co-develop solutions. The members were provided with a range of resources, including support from academics, industry experts, and sport leaders from other countries.
Progress 2016 – 2021: None. There is no evidence of activity beyond a website and information video. NZ Rugby joined Rainbow Tick, but this is about the head office, not the game.
Is this assessment peer-reviewed? Yes. Four academic papers. (learn more)
FIRST: UK Parliament special debate on homophobia in sport
The UK Parliament held a special debate to identify potential solutions to the lack of progress on homophobia in sport by the country’s governing bodies.
Conclusion: Sport bodies have made many promises and commitments to address this problem. There is some evidence of progress in overt homophobia and discrimination in some sports, and some evidence of program and policies being implemented (e.g. Rugby League). However, Parliament concluded there is little evidence of action in football.
FIRST: Formal political inquiry into homophobia in sport conducted by a national government
The UK Parliament is the first in the world to launch a formal public inquiry into homophobia in sport.
About: The decision to hold the inquiry was a natural progression of cross-party political leadership and interest in this topic which began in 2003. This included
- Funding a comprehensive international review and investigation led by one of the world’s most respected sport researchers (see 2008)
- Coordinating a joint-commitment by all sport bodies to rid UK sport of homophobia (see 2011)
- Conducting a special parliamentary debate to identify ways to drive action (see 2016)
Motivation: The powerful cross-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee launched the Inquiry in response to evidence that homophobic behavior remained rife in UK sport and was becoming a bigger problem in sport than racism. It oversees sport funding. The Committee reviewed evidence and conducted hearings throughout 2017.
14 YEARS: since the FA said it was a ‘leader’ on ending homophobia the Chair says homophobia rife
FA Chair Greg Clarke said little had changed during evidence at the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into homophobia in sport.
Clarke was asked if the FA has made any progress on it’s multiple commitments, as well as its 2012 detailed action plan. Clarke tells the Committee: progress has been limited; homophobia is still rife; it is hard to crack; he believes it would be unsafe for a gay professional player to come out.
SECOND: Joint commitment by UK Sports to take action on homophobia
All major UK sport governing bodies and sport agencies provided written responses to the Parliament Inquiry, and all committed to take action to end homophobia (this is the FA’s fourth commitment).
More info: key submissions from sport governing bodies
FIRST: National government releases transgender inclusion guidelines
Australia was the first country to tell sport organizations that they have a legal obligation to stop discriminatory behaviors toward LGBTQ people, and it also became the first country to provide legal guidelines on the inclusion of trans and gender diverse athletes.
Background: The government embarked on an extensive consultation process in order to create guidelines to provide clarity to all stakeholders in sport. There were also calls for a consistent approach across all sports in the wake of controversy caused by the country’s largest sport (Aussie Rules) banning a transgender female athlete. Hannah Mouncey wanted to try-out for the soon to be launched AFLW competition. The ban led to threats of legal action and legal scholars suggested the AFL’s decision may have violated Anti-Discrimination laws, but the Government needed to provide greater clarity. The Guidelines say sports organizations need to prioritize inclusion, and trans athletes can only be excluded in a very limited number of circumstance. The bar to justify exclusion is also very high.
More info: Australian National Guidelines
FIRST: Parliament Inquiry delivers findings
The UK Parliamentary Inquiry into homophobia in sport found little evidence of progress in Britain, or anywhere in the world.
Key findings (full report):
- “Despite the significant change in society’s attitudes to homosexuality in the last 30 years, there is little reflection of this progress being seen in football.”
- “We have serious concerns over the effects of low participation among LGB youth on their mental and physical health and well-being.”
- “The casual use of homophobic epithets and terms has a wide-ranging and damaging effect.”
- “A zero-tolerance approach to the use of all homophobic language and behaviours should be implemented.”
FIRST: Professional sports league becomes major sponsor of Rainbow Laces
The Premier League partially acts on recommendation #13 made by the UK Parliament Inquiry to “commit funds and resources” to interventions such as Rainbow Laces” by becoming a major sponsor.
There is no evidence that the Premier League, or the FA, have taken action on the rest of recommendation #13 to “incorporate television and cinema advertisements, screens at football matches and outside advertising such as bus-stop advertisements. This must be a sustained effort over a significant period of time, rather than a short-term commitment.” There is also no evidence they have adopted the other recommendations made by the Inquiry.
THIRD IOC Scientific Consensus: LGBTQ athletes at uniquely “high-risk” of abuse
The International Olympic Committee’s Science Panel has released three Consensus Statements since 2007 that say LGBTQ athletes need unique protection from abuse and discrimination.
Findings: The Scientific Panels are tasked with reaching consensus on matters of scientific concern to sport governing bodies. The 2019 Consensus found, yet again, that LGBTQ people have a uniquely “high risk” (relative to all other groups) of experiencing physical, psychological, and sexual abuse (e.g. verbal, bullying, exclusion, assaults) in sport settings.
New: The 2019 statement also concluded “transgender athletes often have negative experiences in sports and may struggle to be accepted even after they meet criteria allowing them to participate.”
IOC delays new transgender guidelines – World Rugby bans trans women
The IOC decides to delay the introduction of new transgender participation guidelines, which are the benchmark for sports globally, until after the Tokyo Olympics, so it can conduct more consultation. World Rugby decides not to wait. It bans trans women from all female international competitions. The decision attracts strong criticism from scientists. National governing bodies can adopt their own policies for domestic competitions.
SECOND country (USA) makes it illegal to use or allow homophobic language in sport
The United States Center for SafeSport released the “SafeSport Code” which makes the constant use of homophobic language, banter, and derogatory behavior illegal in most American sport settings. Sexist and transphobic banter is also outlawed.
The Code prohibits harassment related to “sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature” and which creates a “hostile environment” which exists when the behavior is “persistent, and/or pervasive such that it interferes with, limits, or deprives any individual of the opportunity to participate in any program or activity.” It also prohibits allowing this behaviour (e.g. by a coach, Athletic Director).
In 2017, the American Congress passed an Act which gave the US Center for SafeSport total “jurisdiction” over nearly all American sports (except Football) “with regard to safeguarding amateur athletes against abuse, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, in sports.”
FA Chairman resigns after casual racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks to parliament
FA Chair Greg Clarke forced to resign over the language he used when giving evidence to a UK Parliamentary Committee asking about the FA’s progress on diversity.