Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality reveal how homophobia is still a major issue amongst British youth.
An online study, part of the Rainbow Laces campaign, revealed some startling statistics regarding homophobic abuse. According to their research:
- One in five 18 to 24-year-olds would be embarrassed if their favourite football player came out as gay (22% compared to the national average of 12% for all age groups).
- The demographic is also twice as likely to say anti-LGBT language is harmless if meant as ‘just banter.’
- 72% of football fans say they have heard homophobic abuse.
In this day and age, it is concerning that such a sizeable amount of the young population, this country’s future, still hold such viewpoints.
In a world which is embracing sexual freedom and tolerance, where gender fluidity is a well-known term, it is very surprising that a fifth of the UK’s youth would care if their favourite footballer came out.
Ideally homophobia would not be an issue as we enter the final quarter of 2016 but Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ruth Hunt said there was a “persistent minority” of sports fans who think homophobic abuse is acceptable.
What is being done?
Stonewall is developing a variety of measures to tackle the problems raised in the research.
One being a training programme for sports coaches who work with young people so they can ensure they are making sport inclusive.
Another is the development of a ‘sports toolkit’ for grassroots and community sport. To build awareness and understanding of the issues affecting LGBT people.
There are some encouraging statistics in the study however:
- 88% of fans said they would be either ‘proud’ or ‘neutral’ if their favourite player came out as gay.
- 60% say that LGBT players coming out would have a positive impact on the culture of sport.
- 59% believe that offensive language towards LGBT people in sport is a problem.
- 75% of sports fans would be happy to play alongside a bisexual teammate.
- 70% of fans would be happy to play alongside a transgender teammate.
Changing attitudes is an extremely difficult task. Yet, we must not get complacent when the world is on such a promising path.
Have you recognised anything like this in your workplace? Is anti LGBT language banter where you work? Do you think the company you work for needs to be more vigilant on these issues?
Let us know your views in the comment section below.