HOMOPHOBIA blights sport and puts many gay people off from taking part from a young age, according to a charity.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people do not feel able to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in sports environments, research by the Equality Network finds.
Out For Sport, a report which has been launched by the charity at a conference in Murrayfield Stadium, shows 79% of those surveyed think sport has a homophobia problem.
The report includes hundreds of personal accounts and says 62% of LGBT respondents have witnessed or experienced homophobia or transphobia in sport.
The problem ranges from verbal and physical abuse which often goes unchallenged, to bullying and a general culture in which they do not feel able to open up.
The report includes results of a survey of 1,722 people and around 90 interviews with professional and amateur athletes, sports bodies, Scottish Government representatives and LGBT people.
Just 5% think enough is being done to tackle homophobia, while 94% think Scottish sport would be better off without homophobia and transphobia.
Almost three-fifths (57%) of LGBT people would be more likely to participate in sport if it was more LGBT-friendly.
The Equality Network now calls on the Scottish Government and sports bodies to take practical action and deal with the problem.
Scott Cuthbertson, the charity’s community development co-ordinator, said: “The Equality Network report reveals for the first time the true extent of homophobia and transphobia that exists in Scottish sport.
“We now know that prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is a significant problem that blights Scottish sport, but we also know that currently little to no specific action is being taken to tackle the problem.
“Scotland doesn’t want a lost generation of future sports stars and that is why today we are calling on the Scottish Government and sports bodies to listen to the evidence, demonstrate visible leadership and commit to taking practical action to address this issue.”
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