The sporting arena is a place for everyone: young, old, black, white, gay or straight. Too often, we hear tragic stories of discrimination where a person’s athletic dreams were shattered as a result of a fear and negativity of a label slapped upon their back. Homophobia in athletes is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by preaching and teaching tolerance and patience. Gay Games Hong Kong is a sporting and cultural festival which promotes diversity, inclusion and tolerance. We all have a responsibility to create a fair and equal playing field for every player to thrive.
Regardless of the environment you live in or the team you’re playing for, Coaches have the crucial responsibility to provide a fair chance to each player without any bias based on racial or sexual aspect. Coaches are important figures in athletes’ lives. Coaches are responsible for teaching more than sport skills and strategies. They are also responsible for setting examples for athletes about tolerance of differences.
All schools should include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) students, staff, and parents even if they have not come out yet. Athletes should be able to interact with colleagues, teachers, peers, etc. in a friendly manner. In this way, young people will have the opportunity to develop attitudes and beliefs not based in fear or ignorance.
Statistics show that hate crimes and harassment directed at many minority groups including lesbian and gay people are often committed by young male students. Coaches can provide leadership to stop this violent behavior. Many athletes subjected to homophobia quit before they even start for the fear of rejection and prejudice. Unless coaches take action against homophobia, the next generation of young coaches will inherit the same prejudices many of us who are coaching now have lived with.
The Gay Games is a sporting and cultural festival which promotes diversity, inclusion and tolerance, leading to a shift in cultural, social and political attitudes towards LGBT people across the globe.
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