Women, Gay people and The Olympics

As we enjoy the London Olympics following an amazing Opening Ceremony the wider equality issues associated the Olympics should not go unmentioned.

Fact that women are now participating in all teams for the first time ever is fantastic and highly symbolic.

Going forward we must build upon this success, embrace the Olympics Motto (Faster, Higher, Stronger), aim higher and move faster towards even greater equality. No longer should homosexuality be a barrier to participation in sport whether due to social attitudes or legal barriers. Criminalisation of homosexuality must end. 

News that only twenty of the 12,000 athletes competing in the games are openly gay is also concerning. 

Whilst I have not experienced any homophobia whilst running for North Down Athletics Club (most certainly not in Olympic league!) I am in no doubt that institutionalised homophobia exists in many sports and needs tackled.  More info about the Olympics and Gay people at this excellent link. This is something I intend to follow up with the Minister of Sport in Northern Ireland and hope rather than warm words we see some real action and leadership.

Nor should the racist track record of some countries participating in the London 2012 Olympics go unchallenged. The racism in Bulgaria towards the Romani people, in Burma towards Burmese Indians and Iran towards Arabs, Kurds plus other ethnic minorities is wrong and should stop.

The symbolic gender achievement made should spur us on to deliver a more equal world free for discrimination where every human being is enabled to reach their best sporting potential regardless of race, gender, marital status, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, class or background.