Bright future chartered for Wales LGBT sporting community

Key figures across Wales’ sporting community are today celebrating a major step forward in making sport welcoming, safe and free from discrimination as a charter is launched to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.

The charter – today endorsed by Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths on the steps of the Senedd – is a major symbolic commitment to LGBT equality and schools, clubs and national governing bodies from across Wales are being urged to sign up.
Those that do sign up will be committing to a vision of a thriving LGBT sporting community within Wales where individuals feel welcome, safe and free from discrimination. The charter also asserts a zero tolerance approach to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

It has been drafted by the LGBT Sport Cymru Network which was established by Sport Wales in the wake of research conducted in partnership with Stonewall Cymru in a bid to better understand the sporting experiences of Wales’ LGBT communities.
The research revealed encouraging findings with 94% of the respondents having taken part in sport in the last 12 months. Of those that had taken part in sport over the last 12 months, three quarters of lesbian, gay and bisexual people heard homophobic banter with a third experiencing exclusion from their sport of choice.

However it also highlighted that 72% of those asked said they would be more likely to participate in a club if it was marketed as LGBT friendly and organised its activities on this basis.

The network is comprised of organisations including Stonewall Cymru, Mardi Gras as well as sports bodies such as the WRU and FAW.

Chair of LGBT Sport Cymru Network Helen Adams, explains:
“What we have achieved in a short space of time is far-reaching. We have major players around the table who are committed to positive action. We have started to recruit role models to help us promote the opportunities available in sport and physical activity and to make the LGBT community feel more welcome. We have had a great response so far but we still have a long journey ahead.”

“The charter is a major step forward – it is a huge statement of intent and really sets out what we want to achieve collectively across Wales. We are now urging schools, clubs and national governing bodies to sign up and support us in embracing the LGBT community right across the sports sector.

Culture and Sport Minister, John Griffiths said: “I congratulate the LGBT Sport Cymru Network on the outstanding work they have undertaken in producing this Charter.  I believe a zero tolerance approach to homophobia and transphobia in sport will ensure that LGBT communities have access to all sporting arenas and feel safe, welcome and free from discrimination.”

The Group Chief Executive of the WRU, Roger Lewis, said: “The Welsh Rugby Union is proud to be a signatory of this very important charter which pledges us all to protect the inclusivity of our various sports.

“Welsh rugby is remarkably free of prejudice.  However we will continue to work hard to ensure our sport always offers a warm welcome to everyone who wants to take part either as a player, coach, administrator, volunteer or supporter.
 “Many people in Wales will have heard of the Cardiff Lions team which champions the involvement of gay men in rugby and initiatives such as this are important as real evidence of our commitment to the charter.”

Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales, explains;
“We want every child, young person and adult hooked on sport in Wales and we mean ‘every’ – we cannot and must not lose a generation of people to sport because they don’t feel welcome. As a modern, forward thinking sector, sport can make a difference. The sector must make sport inclusive, welcoming and a safe place. We can all take stock and think about what we can do differently and, when appropriate, challenge the behaviour of others where it falls short.”

Andrew White, Director of Stonewall Cymru:
“We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* people in Wales are more likely to get involved in sport when clubs make a visible commitment to equality.

“The benefits of taking part in sport are undeniable.  Given our history and aspirations as a sporting nation there is every reason for local clubs and national governing bodies to sign up to this charter. We hope this is the starting pistol in a drive to clear the sometimes stubborn hurdles to true equality in sport.”

To read the research findings and the charter, please visit www.sportwales.org.uk/lgbreport

For more information, please contact Jane Thomas at Sport Wales on 029 2033 8274 or Paul Batcup on 029 2033 8359.

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