Tackling homophobia in sport
Out gay hockey star and Fair go, sport! ambassador, Gus Johnston, has written an open letter to the hockey community to mark International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).
In his letter he mentions the response he received from the 12 minute YouTube video he created last year in which he talks about the impact of homophobia in sport.
“It seems that my voice was heard across the globe, not just because I spoke, but because people wanted to listen,” Johnston said.
“Some needed to hear the harsh reality and consequence of sport’s ingrained passiveness, and at times active, discriminative homophobic behavior.”
The recently retired goalkeeper called for those in the hockey community to realise their responsibility as role models and take a stand against homophobic attitudes in sport.
“It might be simply posting something on your Facebook wall that tells your friends what you think about homophobia,” Johnston said.
“It might be telling one of your team mates at training on Thursday night to pull their head in if they say something you think is out of line.
“Or, it might be by taking a moment to reflect about any of the countless young men and women who contact me each week searching for purpose, afraid of who they are, what others might think of them and whether life is actually worth living.”
Meanwhile in related news, the ACT government announced their latest campaign to tackle homophobia on the sporting field.
ACT Sports Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said the territory’s government is devoting $272,000 to a program designed to combat harassment, bullying and homophobia in Canberra sport.
Barr said in a statement:
“There’s no place for homophobia on the sports ground and I intend to ensure it no longer gets a guernsey. I am today committing ACT Labor to working with sporting organisations to eradicate it.
The Canberra Times reported that the initiative would “identify and break down barriers that may inhibit participation in sport by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.”
Barr told the newspaper:
“The two-year program will be run by Sport and Recreation Services and will work closely with the ACT Human Rights Commission to develop a suite of resources to assist clubs and organisations to develop a culture of inclusiveness and prepare them to manage instances of discrimination should they occur.”
Hockey ACT and Volleyball ACT will roll out pilot programs later this year.
Photo: Alex Aslangul