Sports minister Hugh Robertson concerned gay athletes don't come forward
Sports minister and Kent MP Hugh Roberston says he is
concerned gay athletes feel uncomfortable about coming out in
He said that while sports clubs and governing bodies were
indicating a willingness to act on homophobia, especially from
spectators, too few were actually taking any action.
"I do think that it is concerning that sportsmen and women feel
unable to be honest about their sexuality while they are competing
for fear of reprisals - either from people inside the sport or more
importantly from crowds.
"It is a personal matter and their maybe people who feel they do
not want to talk about it while they are competing at a high level
and that is fine," he said.
"The worry is that quite a lot of sports bodies have sent out
the right signals but there does not appear to be much action on
the ground to bring it about."
"I'm always struck, and in a sense slightly appalled by the number of people who finish their sporting careers and then come out, but don't feel that they are confident to do so while playing sport at a very high standard" – sports minister Hugh Robertson
The Faversham and Mid
Kent MP recently told a reception hosted by the Speaker of the
House of Commons for the StandUp foundation, which supports gay men
and women and transexuals that he was "slighly appalled" that so
few athletes had come out.
"I'm always struck, and in a sense slightly appalled by the
number of people who finish their sporting careers and then come
out, but don't feel that they are confident to do so while playing
sport at a very high standard," he told the reception.
The number of athletes who competed in the London Olympics
compared to the number who had been prepared to say they were gay
"tells you quite a story."
He went on to stress the importance of role models in ensuring
gay sports people could come out and for crowds to be conditioned
so athletes who did "don't feel they are going to be on the
receiving end of vile homophobic, or other abuse, if they take that
extraordinary and courageous [step]."
Former Leeds United footballer Robbie Rogers recently announced
he was "stepping away" from football after announcing he is
He is only the third footballer to publicly declare his
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