On Tuesday at the House of Commons, the Minister for Equality modelled the wonderful new shirts that LGBT History Month and Pride Sports have sponsored for the Sheffield Eagles anti-homophobia action during February.
Sheffield Eagles currently play in Rugby League’s Championship, the division below the Super League.
It was an important night. Sheffield Eagles are the first club prepared to nail their colours to the slogan ‘Tackle Homophobia’. Thanks to Sarah Williams, RFL Equality and Diversity Manager, rugby league clubs also have comprehensive guidance on exactly how to tackle homophobia.
Lou Englefield of Pride Sports, the LGBT sports development and equity organisation said:
“The very fact that a professional sports team is prepared to walk onto a pitch and make a stand against homophobia is ground breaking. Team sports can be an arena where young people are most bullied at school. This is a clear message that homophobic bullying is unacceptable and that LGBT people are welcome in Rugby League”
Sue Sanders, who spoke last night in the absence of LGBT History Month’s patron Gareth Thomas, said how proud LGBT History Month is to be sponsoring the shirts:
“We heard from members of Stoke Newington School’s girls rugby team during the Pre-Launch of LGBT History Month at Twickenham Rugby Stadium last week. They told us how crucial playing rugby had been to their self esteem and confidence and how the school had supported them to challenge the homophobia and sexism that often targeted at women playing sports.”
The Minister for Equality spoke with some passion about the need to challenge homophobia in all sports. She also posed in one of the shirts.