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Liberal MP Don Foster Joins the Fight Against Homophobia

November 9, 2010

Don Foster, a Liberal Democrat MP known for his support of several charities and causes such as the elimination of child poverty, has now added another to his list: the fight against homophobia in sports. In an interview with the Gay Football Supporters Network, he revealed his enthusiastic support for anti-homophobia initiatives in football and welcomed the prospect of having a charity focused on fighting homophobia in sports.

Despite the prevalence of homophobia in the sporting world, Foster is optimistic about the impact of anti-homophobia campaigns and believes that there will one day be “an environment where players and fans will be able to express themselves without the fear of abuse or discrimination.” Foster recalls a match he attended where a fan yelled a racially abusive statement. He was immediately grabbed and pulled back to his seat by those around him. Heartened by such progress and hopeful for a day when football will one day be devoid of racism, Foster has the same hopes for the fight against homophobia.

In Foster’s opinion, groups like GFSN are central to the campaign. He emphasizes their significance, saying that they “have a vital role to play in challenging prejudices,” and the importance of their campaign to create awareness. “We need to see individual fans, supporters groups, sporting bodies and players speaking out against homophobia, and doing so across all sports – not just football,” he stated.

He encouraged GFSN to continue campaigning and educating people about the issues, in addition to pushing politicians and football authorities to speak out. He assured them they not only had his support, but also that, “The government is with you all of the way in making sure that homophobia is not a part of football culture.”

Foster stated there is no place for discrimination against “geography, gender, race or sexual orientation” in sports where “inclusiveness and a sense of community” is valued.  “Sport should be a way of bringing people together, not a place for divisive, hurtful opinions.”

[GFSN via Pink Paper]

– Jane Chun

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    November 9, 2010 3:11 am

    I love Don Foster, my favorite MP by far. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Jen permalink
    November 9, 2010 4:49 am

    It’s always nice to read articles like this, the more people who speak out against homophobia (and other types of discrimination) the better.

  3. November 9, 2010 2:11 pm

    The comparison between the fight to tackle racism and the fight to tackle homophobia within football is an interesting one. In a time where homophobic attitudes can appear entrenched in British football, it is exciting to see the foundations being put down to tackle it. This process draws strong comparison with racism in the 1980’s/early 1990’s. The devastating effect it has on people’s lives is enough to make us all keep fighting to make sure that homophobia has no place in the dressing rooms, stands or in the board room.

    Having men, like Don, openly talk about it and condemn it is so important.

    I have blogged about how big a challenge it is here (http://stevehynd.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/the-only-gay-in-the-premiership/) if you are interested.

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