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Briggs backs efforts to tackle homophobia in sport.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative & Unionist MSP for Lothian, yesterday supported the efforts of campaigners to tackle homophobia in sport during a Parliamentary debate. Miles was speaking in a Member’s debate on the subject initiated by Labour MSP Mary Fee.

Speaking at Holyrood Miles said:

“ I commend Stonewall Scotland and the Equality Network for the good work they have been doing around these issues.

“ All of us in this chamber will agree that homophobia should have no place in sport, just like any other form of discrimination. And we will recognise too the extent of the challenges we face in tackling it and how much needs to change around some of the culture of sport, with 60% of Scottish sports fan having heard homophobic abuse, rising to 82% among football fans. As Stonewall Scotland's research indicates, there is still a minority of sports fans who believe anti-LGBT chants and abuse is acceptable on the terraces or in the pub and we all have a role in helping to change this so that this type of language is seen as just as intolerable as racist abuse. Casual homophobia among fans shouldn't just be dismissed as macho banter but should be challenged just as much as homophobia should and hopefully would be in any other context. 

“ I welcome the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and Sportscotland's support for the Equality Network's LGBT sport charter. But the fact that no professional footballer has come out in the UK since Justin Fashanu in 1990 speaks volumes about how far we have to go before being gay and a footballer is as unremarkable as it would be in so many other professions. The lack of gay role models at a professional football level is an obvious of concern. Openly gay sportspeople like rugby's Gareth Thomas and Keegan Hirst, diving's Tom Daley and boxing's Nicola Adams have trail blazed in many ways and are an inspiration to many young LGBT people questioning whether they are able to take part in sport and aim for national and international success. We should put on record our admiration for their decisions to be open about their sexuality in public and thank them as we look forward to many other LGBT sportspeople excelling in their field in the future.”

ENDs…

Miles Briggs