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Discrimination in sport based on sexual orientation and gender identity


Discrimination in sport based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Women Win on prejudice in sport. All people, regardless of gender expression or sexual choice, are entitled to equal access to sport at all levels, in all countries of the world. 

Discrimination against an individual or group, is a human rights violation and cannot be tolerated by the international community.

Since the dawn of sport, many girls’ and women have been denied the most simple right: the right to play. The barriers that prevent women from fully participating in society are the same barriers that prevent them from fully participating in sport: stereotypes, misperceptions, safety risks (such as sexual harassment and violence), inadequate resources, poverty and a lack of role models. The full actualisation of women’s right to sport and society depends on the attention to and elimination of these barriers.

Discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) sportspeople, based on their gender expression or sexual choice, is a blatant human rights violation. Furthermore, it is a an infringement to nondiscrimination policies and statues agreed to by international and national governing bodies of sport, including the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and more.

For decades, LGBT athletes and coaches have been marginalised, threatened, fired, excluded, harassed, discriminated against, and even injured and killed. Many have stood up against these violations, but many more have acquiesced and perpetuated the problem. This must end. The failure to protect the rights of all those involved with sport results in jeopardising the safety and talent development of LGBT athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and service providers.

Women Win stands firmly opposed to any expressions, measures, policies or practices aimed at targeting LGBT athletes. We call upon governing bodies, organisations, funders and leaders in sport to assume their responsibility toward ensuring the rights of all athletes are protected. This involves prioritising inclusion and nondiscrimination in all aspects of sport, including policies, practices, administration, funding, programming and training. Additionally, we urge decision makers in sport to hold individuals accountable for upholding basic standards of inclusion and taking recourse when they fall short.

As a global sport community, we must lead and take all available actions to make sport safe for all. It is good for our athletes. It is critical for the growth of our sports. And it is immoral and illegal not to.

Visit Women Win's Guide to Addressing Girls' Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Through Sport website for more information about how to ensure safe space and full inclusion for all athletes.

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Women Win


Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 23:00