Challenging homophobia at your club
This answer relates only to the question and should not be extrapolated. There is never one situation that is identical to another and sometimes even the smallest detail matters.
Steve from Keilor East plays Aussie Rules football and asks “We’ve had a problem with homophobia in our club. The club has never had a player that has come out so they don’t see it as important enough to address. How can we address this in ways that doesn’t piss people off?”
Our Panel Of Expertise panellist, Christine Granger, has responded to the question:
Challenging entrenched homophobia, racism etc., are not easy things to do and inevitably do end up annoying some people regardless of the approach you take. However, there are some approaches you can try to see how they work and what response you get.
First and foremost, there needs to be buy-in from the committee and an expectation that the club is an inclusive space for your community and members. At the start of the season, if your club has a welcome night or at the first training night, I find it helpful to set a code of conduct/expectations for players, coaches and committee members.
The second thing would be to call it out, this works well if it is people that are well respected in the club, leadership group, team captains, coaches. I would imagine that these are some of the qualities you would be looking for in those roles anyway. For someone who is marginalised or discriminated against, seeing someone else call it out is a very positive thing to see.
If these do not open up conversation and change then you have to look at training/education and as a club making hard decisions about the attitudes you want in your club, the long term impact that has on your ability to engage and maintain members and your community.
Christine is passionate about sport for development. Having worked with the Street Games UK, CMY and in local government she brings a wealth of experience. In her spare time, she is an avid hiker and has her weekends ruined by Newcastle United FC. Visit all of Christine’s responses to the Panel Of Expertise here.
While all attempts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information provided in this written response, the Panel Of Expertise panellists assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions. Should a sports club face any difficulties as a result of acting on the advice, it is recommended that they seek out independent professional technical support to rectify the situation. The Club Respect panellists will not be held responsible for any repercussions beyond the scope of this response.