Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

"Homophobia has become an accepted part of sports.”

Tue 31 May 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Today, the leading sports organisations of New Zealand have announced they are coming together to encourage diversity and inclusion across all sports, including addressing homophobia, something LGBTI sports event organiser Craig Watson says has become an accepted part of sports. The Proud to Play ocean swim race competitors and supporters (Pic: Watson, of LGBTI sporting festival Proud to Play, says this is a great step in the right direction. “New Zealand has had a long history of sport and unfortunately homophobia has also been well entrenched in our sporting culture,” he says. “Today the national sporting bodies have said homophobia and other discrimination is no longer something that they are going to accept and are now making strides towards ‘dealing’ with these issues. “The statement is clear that the major NZ sporting bodies all feel the same – Sport is #FOREVERYONE.” New Zealand Rugby has led the initiative and stands alongside New Zealand Football, New Zealand Rugby League, New Zealand Cricket, Netball New Zealand and Hockey New Zealand. Watson says that sport in New Zealand has typically held a masculine image. “Rugby being at the root of this, is a national symbol of ‘manhood’ in New Zealand. “This is the reason why woman have struggled in sport and why gay men and women have also been the targets of homophobia. “Because rugby and other contact sports like this, are so intimate - as teams need to get close and touch one another on the field as well as shower together – this has meant that often this culture could be seen as homoerotic and to expel that stereotype, the men have just homophobia to push that idea out of people mind-sets. Therefore, homophobia has become an accepted part of these masculine sports.” He notes that the 2015 Out in the Fields surveyed a number of people involved with sports and discovered that 88% of people had experienced homophobia. “This report is what triggered NZ Rugby to act and do something about making sport more inclusive.” Proud to Play NZ is a charitable trust setup in NZ to produce inclusive sporting events like the one recently run in February 2016 and also work with national organisations and community clubs to help see groups more inclusive and free of homophobia. “We also hope that this will create interest and involvement from groups that want to compete in a tournament like Proud to Play and will increase the message to younger sports people who feel their sexuality is a barrier to their involvement in sport,” says Watson. The Human Rights Commission has also welcomed today’s commitment made to diversity and inclusion. Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says this “sends a powerful message to all Kiwis that intolerance, racism and homophobia are not welcome on our sports fields and games. “It’s brilliant to see the sporting sector showing leadership in human rights, putting a stake in the ground and saying: there’s a problem, in fact there are lots of problems but we’re going to work together to solve it.” She says “When it comes to racism and homophobia, we need to stand up to others and not be bystanders: we need to take ownership of our own sporting codes, we can't let the haters win.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 31st May 2016 - 3:32pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us