The Premier League is continuing its effort to demonstrate an inclusive atmosphere for LGBT people in elite soccer with a new partnership with Stonewall, the United Kingdom’s most prolific LGBT-rights organization.
The partnership, according to Sky News, is designed to further an atmosphere in soccer where LGBT athletes — and in particular gay-male athletes — feel they can come out publicly and live their lives openly.
A major part of the partnership will include work to address unacceptable language and homophobic abuse, whether in stadiums or social media.
This will focus on improved reporting measures, staff training and other programmes that will see the Premier League use the power of football, and its significant reach, to promote LGBT fan groups.
Language is certainly a help, and if they can curtail homophobic language in soccer that’s a good thing. As we’ve said over and over in the past, the only thing that can truly transform sports at this point is for people to come out privately and publicly. Will this focus on changing the language of sports help? Yes, It can help an athlete see that by coming out they won’t be rejected. Yet it is only through athletes coming out that we see just how much sports have transformed.
Until then, these efforts will be welcome — eradicating the use of anti-gay language in sports truly is a big deal. The less gay athletes hear homophobic language, the more comfortable they will be