Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keph Senett on campaigns against homophobia in sport

In Xtra.ca, Keph Senett asks if campaigns are having an impact on homophobia in sport in Canada and beyond:

While more professional athletes have come out of the closet in the past year than in the past decade, an expert on homophobia in professional sports says it is still the last great bastion of institutionalized homophobia.

In 2011, dozens of athletes publicly came out across a spectrum of disciplines, ranging from swimming to cycling to soccer. Momentum gathered as several high-profile organizational figures — such as Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts and ESPN radio host Jared Max — followed suit, and straight allies like wrestler Hudson Taylor, of the Athlete Ally foundation, and rugby player Ben Cohen, who founded the StandUp Foundation, helped put the anti-homophobia message on the international agenda.

The same year, Major League Baseball got involved at the franchise level when the San Francisco Giants participated in Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project, and by the end of the season a total of eight MLB teams had produced videos for the campaign.

Former basketballer Charles Barkley was vocal in his ondemnation of homophobia in sports, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ran its Think B4 You Speak campaign on television during a National Basketball Association game in May.

Gains were made even in the world of soccer, which has been heavily criticized for its lack of organizational support for an anti-homophobia strategy. In 2011, the United Kingdom’s The Justin Campaign, which advocates against homophobia in the sport, secured official endorsements from both The Football Association and the Union of European Football Associations.

Indeed, if a spectator dropped in for the 2011 sports season only, it seems likely that he or she might conclude that homophobia in sport is an antiquated issue, a throwback to a different, less enlightened time.

But according to Caroline Fusco, an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto, professional sport remains a stronghold of homophobic attitudes.

“Sport as a space has been one that has really been there for the production of a certain kind of hyper-masculinity. Particularly when you think of pro sports, the big ones: hockey, football, baseball. These all tie in to the rugged notion of masculinity, and these attitudes remain — that gay men aren’t masculine,” she says.

Strategies like Brian and Patrick Burke’s You Can Play campaign, which is aimed at the National Hockey League, are trying to change that. Advocates go after the highest-profile names they can secure to create messaging that challenges that notion.

It’s an effective method. The events of 2011 seem to suggest a sea change in the sporting culture. But is the endorsement or coming out of a collection of high-profile sports figures a reasonable measure of the state of homophobia in sport? Is it the best way to tackle homophobia?

Marc Naimark, vice-president of external affairs for the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), seems to think not. “The Federation of Gay Games [has] continued to offer opportunities for LGBT athletes to be active in sport in a safe environment while engaging straight athletes in clubs or at sports competitions,” he says. “When we consider sheer numbers, that is far more significant than the elusive out pro athlete.”

Keep reading HERE.

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