In keeping with its mandate to increase the participation of women and girls in sport and physical activity, CAAWS has recently prepared a position paper on homophobia in sport. Homophobia – or the fear and hatred of homosexuals – is often an obstacle to participation in sport among all groups: women and men, young and old, homosexual and heterosexual. In particular, many girls and women shy away from sport out of fear they will be perceived as lesbians.
Canada is a leader in promoting a sport environment that is safe and welcoming. In recent years, Canadian sport leaders have pursued a number of national policy initiatives in support of this goal, including anti-harassment policies, accessibility programs, education and awareness about bullying and violence, protocols for volunteer screening, and programs to promote safety, fun, fair play and ethical conduct within Canadian sport programs.
Harassment, bullying, violence and homophobia make sport exclusive and unsafe, and undermine the powerful potential of sport to contribute to personal, social and community development. Addressing the issue of homophobia in sport is thus very timely given Canada’s inclusive stance on minority rights as well as the Canadian sport system’s overall strategy of making the sport environment, and the sport experience, safe and welcoming.
Published – April 2006
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