Outsport Final Conference : Project results, final considerations, recommendations, follow-up and perspectives
The 8th of November 2019, the Outsport Final Conference took place in Budapest. It was the final step of a 3 years-long innovative and challenging project co-financed by the European Commission through the Erasmus Plus program on “Innovative and educational approaches to prevent violence and tackle discrimination in sport based on sexual orientation and gender identity”. The project was coordinated by AICS (Italian Association for Culture and Sport) with key partners from Scotland (LEAP sports), Germany (German Sport University, Cologne), Austria (VIDC) and Hungary (Frigo).
The participants received welcome and greetings by Péter Niedermüller, the newly-elected mayor of the 7th district of Budapest.
Opening the works of the conference, Marisa Fernández Esteban, Deputy Head of the Sport unit, Directorate-General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of the European Commission. “We have a mandate to create a new dimension of sport, as it is time to stop considering it as mere competition. Social innovation and inclusion are among the main virtues of sport, and projects like these need and deserve our support.
Addressing homophobia and transphobia in sport through scientific research, communication and training can really help us create more resilient and inclusive societies. Also, this pedagogical approach can help in the creation of other projects that strive to find new educational tools to be used against exclusion, hatred, racism and discrimination.”
During the conference, the two main Outsport outcomes have been presented:
1) Final Report on the EU-wide research on the experiences of LGBTI people in sport coordinated by the German Sport University of Cologne. It is now available on our website www.out-sport.eu, and contains the aggregated data results at EU level, highlighting the differences regarding sexual orientation and gender identity between the five project countries (Italy, Germany, Scotland, Hungary and Austria) and all the other EU member states, exposing a rich and wide perspective of anti-LGBTI attitudes in sport and in different sport disciplines and environments, as lived and perceived by LGBTI people.
More than 5,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from all 28 EU countries completed the online survey. Almost 90% of respondents consider homophobia and particularly transphobia in sport a current problem. 20% refrain from participating in a sport of interest due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. 16% of respondents who are currently active in any sports have had at least one negative personal experience in the last 12 months that was related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The share is higher among trans people – especially among trans women (46%). Based on these survey findings, umbrella organisations and federations from the 5 projects countries have been interviewed about their strategies in tackling homo-/transphobic discrimination in the field of sport. These data have been used to produce 5 specific focus booklets for each country (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Scotland) with local highlights and recommendations to their national sport institutions.
2) A pedagogical toolkit to address LGBTI inclusion in and through sport. Outsport aims to promote a new inclusive training approach: apart from contrasting homophobia and transphobia in sport, Outsport strives to make sport a tool to educate against any form of exclusion and a chance to develop social competencies in continuity with the school. On this front, the second main outcome is the publication of the Training Toolkit, a manual for those working in sport and education with exercises and practices tested during the project and based on the Non-Formal Education through Sport methodology (moveandlearn.org).
All partner organizations and participants activists agreed on the importance of introducing a specific focus in the next European Work Plan for Sport – contrasting homo-transphobia and gender stereotypes. This would also enhance the debate on “gender equality”.
Concrete policies on SOGI discrimination in sport could be very useful to contrast homo-transphobia and gender stereotypes.
In accordance with the first guiding objective of the current EU Work Plan for Sport, “to ensure, through cross-sectoral cooperation, the awareness of other EU policy domains of the contribution that sport can make in meeting the policy challenges facing the EU” project partners recommend the Working Party on Sport of the Council of the European Union: a) to include LGBTI issues and SOGI discrimination in the guiding objectives of the next EU Work Plan for Sport; b) to promote the enhancement the existing sport education programs with trainings on SOGI discrimination and LGBTI rights issues; c) to open up a dialogue with all relevant stakeholders (EU and COE Institutions, associations, NGOs) who can contribute to the development of such policies.
Outsport coordinator, Rosario Coco commented: “After the project results these recommendations are a key political challenge in order to produce a concrete impact on European sport policies from grassroots to professional levels”.
The partners finally agreed on the importance of giving continuity to the work on this topic launching next objectives and new follow-up strategies. In particular, it was considered strategic to develop the scientific part of the project to deepen the knowledge of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in Europe, but also to obtain a dynamic picture of the phenomenon and the impact policies have on it.
The training toolkit, booklets, pictures and more from the final conference are available on our website at the following link.