In LGBT history month Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, explains how his organisation are tackling homophobia in football.
February is LGBT History Month, a celebration of the lives, achievements and histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Britain. I’m delighted that for this year and next, the focus is on sport.
It’s perhaps fair to suggest football hasn’t always been welcoming to the gay community. At Kick It Out, we’re working hard to alter this perception. The topic of homophobia has been a core part of our One Game, One Community weeks of action campaigns for the past three years and, working with our partners at The Football Association, the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association, in tandem with key community led organisations like the Gay Football Supporters Network in London, Pride Sports in Manchester, and The Justin Campaign in Brighton, we’ve been able to bring the debate into the mainstream.
One Game, One Community
Kick it Out was set up back in 1993, in a bid to root out the worst excesses of rampant racist activity in which black footballers and fans were abused, harassed and attacked. Fast forward to 2011 however, and our work spans all areas of discrimination. Shifting with the footballing landscape, matters concerning gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability are just as much a part of our remit as race and skin colour. It is under the banner of One Game, One Community that we attempt to address the various aspects of inequality, challenge prejudice, bigotry and intolerance to achieve greater engagement, inclusion and diversity with people from all backgrounds and circumstances.
So, you can see Kick It Out involved in a spread of activity this month. We’ve linked up with The FA to form an alliance with the Justin Campaign to support its Football v Homophobia initiative on 19 February. We’ll be holding our own ‘Question Time’ style evening debate in Manchester on the 24th with a panel of experts and special guests.
And, as of next week, we’re hosting a special LGBT History Month online blog at www.kickitout.org with contributions, commentary and opinion from players, campaigners and journalists both domestically and from overseas.
As ever, your input in any or all of this is welcomed and valued. To find out more visit targetwww.kickitout.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7 684 4884.