Time for the Outsport Network. Outcomes of the Sport and Equality in Europe Webinar.
The Webinar “Sport and Equality in Europe” #WebOutsport2020 took place last November 27 on the official Outsport Facebook page, YouTube channel and website. On this occasion we launched the Outsport Network, a place for sharing best practices and encouraging new partnerships across Europe in the field of Sport, SOGI issues, education and inclusion. We want to thank once again all our international guests and their very precious contributions.
One year after the Outsport project conclusion, the event has been an occasion to gather international institutions and stakeholders and carry out an open discussion on the latest EU policies related to Sport and LGBTIQ+ issues, introduce best practices and follow-up perspectives.
In this report we sum up the main outcomes of the Webinar.
Among various guests from international NGOs, project partners, associations and sports clubs, representatives from the European Commission Guglielmo di Cola and Yves Le Losteque, and Eleni Tsetsekou from the Council of Europe also contributed to the rich discussion.
The event was attended by Giuseppe Pierro, Head of the Italian Sport Department of the Ministry of Sports, who recognized the strategic importance of the project by inviting us to take part in the future work of the new group of experts on sport, minors and inclusion.
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The Webinar was moderated by Rosario Coco, Outsport Project Manager (AICS), trainer for Gaynet and activist in the field SOGI issues, Klaus Heusslein, Ousport Coordinator and former co-president of EGLSF and Andrea Giuliano, Ousport project assistant and activist in the field of LGBTIQ+ rights.
After the opening speeches by Rosario Coco and Klaus Heusslein, Guglielmo di Cola spoke on behalf of the cabinet of Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
“Now, in the midst of the Covid-19 second wave, it’s become more difficult for everyone to dedicate themselves to physical activity. Yet sport remains important because it makes us healthier, and should be accessible for everyone regardless of fitness level, age, gender, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Sadly, as the Outsport project survey shows, we are far from equality. This is why on November 12, 2020 we presented the first LGBTIQ+ Equality Strategy setting out actions for the next 5 years to address inequalities and challenges of LGBTIQ+ people. Sport is featured in this strategy as a powerful tool for changing attitudes and challenging gender biases and other stereotypes. One of our priorities is indeed to finance projects that are using sport to support social inclusion in local communities, creating synergies between professionals and grassroots sport. Just in 2020, 118 Erasmus + projects promoting social inclusion and equal opportunities have been selected and received funding.
Projects like Outsport help us create a more resilient and inclusive society, because they strive to make sport a tool to educate against any form of exclusion and a chance to develop social competences in continuity with schools. The Outsport Toolkit is something extremely important and perfectly aligned with the Council’s conclusions “empowering coaches by enhancing opportunities to acquire new skills and competences”. In the future, Erasmus+ projects will be more accessible to smaller organisations, it will have a larger financial envelope and will also open up to third countries, in addition to helping the mobility of sport staff. We will also ensure follow-up through the #Beinclusive Sports Award. Created in 2017 to celebrate and acknowledge the work of organisations using the power of sport to increase the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, it’s been a success ever since. These projects show that sport can really enhance European values, tolerance and mutual understanding”.
Giuseppe Pierro, Head of the Italian Department for Sport brought greetings from the Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora and took the opportunity to introduce the latest sport policies.
“We know that sport is often considered as an environment where stereotypes are very strong, and it can be perceived as a hostile environment for LGBTIQ+ people. We are really running late in this field, but finally something is moving in the right direction: the new Reform of Sport has been approved – it is a very important step forward, as among the new measures we can find clear guidelines on really important topics. We introduced new codes of conduct to prevent harassment, gender violence, discrimination due to ethnicity, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and personal beliefs. All sports organisations and federations will have to formally adopt these codes of conduct. Of course, guidelines and sanctions cannot be the only way. That’s the reason why the department I’m guiding just put together a new pool of experts coming from the fields of child protection and sport for the construction of a new policy for the protection of minors, with a particular focus on mistreatment and abuse. We have the obligation to guarantee all young athletes, without any discrimination, access to sport in a safe and healthy environment. Our daily work is committed to ensure the legislative, cultural and environmental framework where this change can finally happen. The work that you are doing today is crucial, so let’s keep in touch – a representative from the Outsport project should be involved in the group of experts as we need to take advantage of the work you are doing”.
Someone who surely remembers the hardships of being involved in LGBTIQ+ activism and politics during the last decades of the 20th century is Franco Grillini, historic leader of the Italian LGBTIQ+ movement, President of Gaynet and the first openly gay Deputy of the Italian Republic.
“My activism started in the early ‘80s, and I remember many attempts to dialogue with the sports world and the many initiatives that started to blossom at international level. The Gay Olympics in San Francisco in 1982 are definitely a milestone in this regard, especially due to the fact that the IOC prohibited the association of the name “Olympics” with the word “Gay”. This is a striking example of institutional homophobia, and it was absurd because the Olympics were born with a very strong homoerotic aura – athletes competed naked and women could not participate. We reacted with irony: in 1984, in Bologna, we organized the “Sodomiadi”, proposing new, ironic and provoking sports disciplines such as the run on stilettos or the handbag throw. However, the main focus of those years was the HIV/AIDS epidemic, so sport was still in the background. During the ‘90s and the 2000s, very few athletes declared their sexuality. It was all reduced to gossip, and big names like Luciano Moggi (one of the most successful Italian football managers) claimed that LGBTIQ + people in sports didn’t exist, especially in football. Meanwhile, several LGBTIQ+ sports groups and allies were starting to take part in Pride marches – for example in 2005 in Barcelona, ??as many as 350 Italian athletes participated. In 2014 ARCIGay launched an important campaign dedicated to the International Coming Out Day (October 11) and for the first time in the history of Italian football, banners supporting this campaign were displayed in football stadiums. This was a great success and the beginning of positive and lasting change. This helped the media and politics open up about the topic. Earlier this year, another important moment for LGBTIQ+ rights in Italian football was the coming out of Carolina Morace, historic forward, international coach, referee and the first woman to be included in the Italian Football Hall of Fame. Sport is fundamental for healthy living and social relations, and its intersectional nature makes it an invaluable tool for the inclusion of all minorities”.
Contribution: Presentation of the Outsport Outcomes: the Research
After the keynote speakers, the first contribution was dedicated to the Outsport research and its result.
Dr. Ilse Hartmann-Tews, professor of Sociology and Sociology of Sport at the German Sport University Cologne explained the results of the scientific data collection within the framework of the Outsport project. On the one hand, it became clear what kind of discrimination LGBTIQ+ athletes who have already officially come out of the closet – or who have been outed – experience. On the other, these results also provided information about the proportion of respondents who either completely conceal their sexual orientation in the sports environment or even refrain from participating in sport altogether for fear of negative consequences such as discrimination and/or bullying. For the first time ever in Europe, the Outsport project collected data about this issue. The Outsport project survey shows that over 70% of respondents consider homobitransphobia a current problem in sport. Over 20% of respondents refrain from participating in sport due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This happens especially in football, dancing, swimming and boxing.
Panel 1 – The Status of Art and the Upcoming EU Policies in the Field of Sport and Equality
The first panel of the webinar focused on EU policies and involved representatives from the Council of Europe and the European Commission. It was co-moderated by Rosario Coco and Hugh Torrence, co-president of EGLSF and also Executive Director of LEAP Sport Scotland, one of the Outsport project partner organizations.
Eleni Tsetsekou, Head of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Unit, Anti-Discrimination Department of the Council of Europe confirmed the concerns raised by the Outsport survey.
“The SOGI Unit negotiates policies with Member States, and there is a specific sector dealing with Sport and Human Rights. In this respect, the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations (2010) is a policy tool helping Member States adopt equality policies in different sectors. We have been monitoring the situation and saw where we stand in terms of the implementation of these measures ten years after its approval. Sadly, only 7 out of 47 members had reviewed their legislation on the matter – sport continues to be a hostile environment for LGBTIQ+ people – little progress has been made compared to other sectors. We also noticed that we have very few best practices. Some remarkable examples of progress made in this field – to give but one example, the case of Guram Kashia, captain of Georgia’s national football team who wore a rainbow armband in support of LGBTIQ+ rights in October 2017 have subsequently showed how much work still needs to be done, as Kashia had to face huge backlash from Christian conservative and right-wing groups. We need more role models. Many athletes were, and still are, afraid of speaking out against racism, sexism and homobitransphobia due to lack of sponsorship and for fear of their careers coming to a halt. Sport can change and save lives, but it can equally destroy them. The Council of Europe has been working with disadvantaged groups and minorities and we have seen how much the life of a child can change thanks to inclusive sport policies. EPAS, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport provides a platform for intergovernmental sports co-operation between the public authorities of its member states. In 2021, the Council of Europe will organize a diversity conference, launching a guide to raise awareness about SOGI issues in sport, aligning our work to the latest guidelines we received from the LGBTIQ+ Strategy”.
Yves Le Lostecque, Head of the Sport Unit in the European Commission, introduced the topic of the EU Work Plan for Sport and discussed the issues related to the Conclusion adopted by the Council of the European Union Empowering coaches by enhancing opportunities to acquire skills and competence, which recognizes the social role of coaches and the need for specific training in the field of social inclusion.
“The EU now has competence in this field, as thanks to the Plan for Sport we now have funding and there is policy coordination. Once every three years we adopt a new Plan for Sport which defines priorities and schedules what needs to be done. I can confirm that this Plan will continue its work against discrimination and will promote inclusion. The first priority will be creating a safe environment for sport, focusing on the prevention of harassment, violence and abuse and any form of discrimination. This will be done together with Member States, the Presidency of the Union and the Commission. The Erasmus Future Program will also allow the continuity of funding.
However, conclusions from the Council of the European Union are not restraining documents, this means that Member States decide to adhere to these policies on a voluntary basis. The main message of these conclusions is that coaches are not only there to teach technique, but they are also there to educate and pass on values of opennes and non-discrimination. All Member States and the Commission are committed to working towards this objective. The fight against discrimination is evermore present in our policies, and we see that year by year progress is being made from Member States”.
Panel 2 – EU and US: Approaches towards LGBTIQ topics in Sport
The second panel was dedicated to different approaches towards LGBTIQ+ topics with Luisa Rizzitelli, President of Assist Association (Associazione Italiana Atlete – Italian Women Athletes Association) and Cyd Zeigler, Commentator from Outsports US, advocacy and media platform.
Luisa Rizzitelli: “As President and founder of Assist , I can definitely say that more efforts need to be made for the inclusion of both women and LGBTIQ+ people in sport. At the moment I don’t actually see an organic strategy involving all the relevant stakeholders. We need more best practices, we need policies and much more, especially in Italy, where I can witness that lesbian athletes in sport are just tolerated. In this sense, projects like Outsport are one of the most important examples of what is needed at the European level. In general, women are always under attack when they come into sports which are considered “masculine disciplines” such as football or rugby, for example. There is not enough information about this topic and generally people don’t talk enough about that. And, as a lesbian and former volleyball player I can tell you that my experience has been even worse. We need the involvement of experts in this field because specific competences are required to face this challenge, as we did by creating SAVE, a new service against abuse and harassment in sport, a helpline through which we hope several lesbian athletes can find support. With the Faircoaching project, Assist wants to make the topic of sexism and homobitransphobia part of the mandatory education paths of coaches and PE teachers. Last but not least, we need more allies: athletes like Claudio Marchisio are a good example of professionals who cherish inclusion. And that’s a powerful message”.
Cyd Zygler: “In the USA, the school, college and university sports system is truly vast, and it offers the opportunity for so many people to come out and show the inclusive nature of sports. When athletes come out, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, teammates will support them, and there will always be a local LGBTIQ+ network of people ready to support them in sports. The more you connect LGBTIQ+ people in sports, the faster it accelerates change, because knowing that there’s a support network is so important. In this respect, the USA is actually ahead of Europe. However, the world of sport is still pervaded with toxic masculinity – it’s important to build a narrative about beautiful masculinity instead, referring to those male athletes who don’t fit the conventional “masculine” behaviours or aesthetics. In American football there are several examples of athletes that indentify as gay or queer, who use nail polish for example, and are fully accepted by their teams. This is something you would not see happening only 10 years ago. One core issue that hasn’t yet been solved is homobitransphobic language. A lot of straight, cis-gender athletes know that gay slurs are not nice things to say, but they don’t understand how deeply these slurs can impact an LGBTIQ+ person. But when you educate them, things change: they just stop using these slurs. In this respect, everyone should be given the opportunity to change. Younger generations playing sports are our future, and I think we should really focus more on their education and on their tremendous potential rather than on big professionals coming out, because it’s the millions of inclusive young people that can make the world of sports really inclusive”.
Contribution: Presentation of the Outsport Outcomes: the Outsport Toolkit and follow up activities
The second contribution session was dedicated to the Outsport Training Toolkit, a practical tool for educators and PE teachers using Non-formal Education Through Sport (ETS) with a particular focus on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. The presentation was held by László Földi, Expert, Trainer and Consultant in the field of Education Through Sport, and coordinator of the Toolkit publication.
A team made up of 12 experts coming from the Outsport project partner organisations worked for one year on collecting practises, policy guidelines and approaches for the creation of SOGI-inclusive sport communities. The result of this work is the Outsport Training Toolkit, based on Education Through Sport. Education THROUGH Sport (ETS) is a non-formal educational approach that works with sport and physical activity towards the development of the social key competences of individuals and groups, in order to contribute to transferable personal development and sustainable social transformation (from sport to other real-life situations). After the Toolkit presentation, Lou Englefield, founding director of Pride Sports UK and leading voice in the field of LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport, spoke about her experience in this field, including her experience with the Toolkit:
“We have been using the data from the Outsport project in our own education work. In environments like the UK, we know that an overwhelming majority of people are supportive of LGBTIQ+ rights. Of course, issues are still present, but generally we have seen a very positive change of attitude towards the inclusion of sexual minorities. The Toolkit includes self-assessment tools through which people can constructively ask themselves questions about their own attitudes and values and about whether those present barriers to LGBTIQ+ inclusion. I particularly appreciate the ETS approach – at Pride Sports UK, we use this approach, particularly in our Football VS Homophobia campaign. What makes this toolkit really unique to me is the fact that it offers games, complete with guidelines on how to set them up, it tells you how long they last and you can also adapt these games to your own environment. For example, if you are in a standard coaching session and you are coaching a junior team, there might be occasions to integrate those games into your work. Many of the activities presented in the book can be used as energizers, icebreakers and, of course, they can be used to introduce sensitive topics that imply educational work. The world of sport and physical activity can be a hotspot for name-calling: P.E. teachers can use this resource to integrate the value of non-discrimination into their practice. Promoting non-discrimination in sport can indeed be a smart move – as studies carried out in college sport divisions in the USA show, LGBTIQ+ inclusive environments are winning environments, because they are environments in which everyone feels supported.
There has been a real lack of insight in Europe around LGBTIQ+ experiences in sport and physical activity. Your research has really looked into that, and on the basis of your findings you developed a toolkit. It’s really unusual, as you managed to use the data in a way that can be easily applied. We need more resources such as this.
I also think we need to do a bit more work around differentiating the experiences of people in our community. If we are talking about next steps, we should be looking at how we explore more the unique experiences of trans, intersex and bisexual people”.
Roundtable – The Role of NGOs and Sport Organizations for LGBTIQ Inclusion and EU Policies Implementation
Following the presentation of the Toolkit and its follow-up, Klaus Heusslein moderated the Roundtable dedicated to the role of NGOs and Sport Organizations for LGBTIQ+ Inclusion and EU Policies Implementation. The Roundtable involved organizations with experience in SOGI issues and also in mainstream sport activities. The moderator addressed the guests starting with a question regarding the current EU policies, whether they could be considered sufficient and how they could be enforced in Member States across the EU.
Hugh Torrance, Co-President of EGLSF (European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation) and Executive Director at LEAP Sports Scotland: “We have made important steps forward in the field of LGBTIQ+ EU policies during the last year, but they are not always followed by national implementation in the Member States. I think the most important challenges we should focus on as LGBTIQ+ sport movements are the rise of hate speech and the growth of the “anti-gender movement”. Maintaining what we achieved is a challenge in itself, and a key to do that is to use our intersectional approach. The Eurogames are a great opportunity for people to come together in a safe and friendly environment: we could say that our identity brings us together. We also need to recognize that Eurogames are grounded on what happens in local communities, where LGBTIQ+ people create their safe environment on a daily basis, but the situation has also changed over the years – for some people the safe space is perhaps no longer the primary reason why they want to get together. LGBTIQ+ sport tournaments are indeed becoming an occasion of celebration and socialization. We have a great responsibility within the community and we need to focus on grassroots sport in order to increase the potential of our outreach. Last but not least, there are fields like the inclusion of transgender and intersex athletes which need to be addressed in terms of policies and in terms of practical actions”.
Emy Ritt, former Co-President of the Federation of Gay Games and Director of Int. Affairs at Paris 2018: “Even though I see that a lot of progress has been made, as Hugh just said, we need massive investments in education and communication, so there’s a lot of work to do, yet we have many more people we can count on, which makes me optimistic about the future. I think that big events can give their contribution – we are working on the next GayGames, set to take place in Hong Kong in 2022, and we are very proud to bring this message of inclusion outside of Europe and the US. Of course, the political situation we will find there is completely different from what we found anywhere else so far. Now, anything can happen. Politics could change everything, and the same goes for health issues. Aside from that, whatever happens in Hong Kong is a good thing, because people who voted for the location of the next Gay Games wanted an event in Asia, as much as we wanted to expand our horizon. So far, preparations are going very well, and we are conviced that whatever will happen there with the Gay Games could stimulate a positive in change the Hong Kong community, which is not yet used to LGBTIQ+ events of this size”.
Esther Jones Russel, Head of Policy for Social Inclusion at Fare Network: “The fact that sport is included in the LGBTIQ+ Equality Strategy is a great opportunity. There are lots of brilliant grassroots initiatives promoted by the LGBTIQ+ community, but none of these are reflected in the policies of football governing bodies and national associations. The more we can highlight how important sport is in terms of promoting LGBTIQ+ inclusion the better. As recent cases of institutional homobitransphobia show, some people in decision-making positions within football often hold very antiquated views. It is time to change this, and we need to address these issues not only at grassroots level – we also need to make sure that we’re represented within the decision-making positions. At Fare Network, we run several campaigns – we’re just past the #FootballPeople Action Weeks, a two-week campaign taking place in October that unites players, minority groups, communities and supporters to stand for equality and inclusion. We are now getting ready for the Football v Homophobia Month of Action which will happen in February, in collaboration with Pride Sports UK. It is an action month that promotes initiatives across Europe and beyond – in this sense, there are plenty of examples internationally, which Europe can analyze in order to build an effective 5 year LGBTIQ+ strategy”.
Markus Pinter, FairPlay Project Coordinator at VIDC (Vienna Institute for dialogue and cooperation): “VIDC was originally focused on racism, but we started to address LGBTIQ+ topics as well because we understand the intersectionality of the issue. Gender issues, homobitransphobia and discrimination on other grounds need to be addressed in parallel with that of racism, because they all have a common root. Despite the fact that there has been a tremendous increase of attention and resources to tackle the aforementioned issues over the last years, and despite the fact that there has been relevant improvement, it’s still a fact that female athletes are not taken seriously as male ones, for example. We strongly believe that we need to bring inclusive policies to the grassroots level, as they have the potential to reach so many people and bring about the positive change we need”.
Gabriella Bascelli, Project Manager at European Multisport Club Association (EMCA) and Gold Medalist at the 2009 Rowing European Championship: “The implementation of EU policies is scarce at national level, especially if we think about the number of women involved in sport management. More pressure is needed towards decision makers. As an ex athlete, I find any kind of exclusion absurd and I can only be proud of incredible initiatives such as the Gay Games – we should all promote projects that increase the visibility of minorities as much as possible, along with the idea that however different, athletes are athletes. All sport associations should adopt inclusive policies. As EMCA, we carried out several projects dealing with these topics, we will continue to do so and will welcome suggestions and proposals to enhance this action in the upcoming future”.
After the roundtable, the webinar welcomed Italian senator Monica Cirinnà, who joined the words of the previous guests with respect to hate speech and policy implementation.
“We know that sport is very often a sector in which homobitransphobia is very strong. In June 2020, the Council of the European Union finally recognized the role of coaches and the important social role of specific training that these people must have with respect to social inclusion. It is good news that the whole world that revolves around great athletes and competitive sport has finally opened its eyes to the common battle that we must face against homobitransphobia. Certainly, those who work in the field of human rights and social inclusion know that there are major players in the cultural field, which are culture in all its aspects but also sport and media communication. Adapting correct language and behaviors towards diversity, considering them as values and not dangers will greatly help the advancement of society.
CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, has finally included measures against homobitransphobic discrimination in its regulation. This must also happen in individual federations and associations, all the more so because the Italian Parliament is about to vote on a law against homobitransphobia, misogyny and hate crimes against people with disabilities. Unfortunately, hate crimes and incitement to violence are still very strong in Italy, so we have decided to enhance the criminal code with new measures that will prosecute all acts of homobitransphobia. We believe that these crimes deserve exemplary punishment. This will happen more and more when people feel confident that they can denounce the acts they have suffered, but especially when the culture of non-discrimination will grow through sport in order to ensure that homobitransphobia is considered a negativity at such a point that people will refrain from perpetrating it. Having adequate laws help, because changing a norm also changes the culture, and people will feel more protected. A law against homobitransphobia will give equal dignity to all people that are wrongfully considered as different and inferior. We aim to abolish stereotypes in life, in culture as well as in sport”.
Contributions from decision makers, activists and sport clubs: practices, lessons learned
This speech introduced the last contribution session of the webinar, dedicated to the experiences of activists and sport clubs, a crucial part of #WebOutsport2020 that focuses on those actors who effectively carry out plans and activities related to policies and recommendations.
Antonello Sannino, Former President of Arcigay Napoli, co-founder of the LGBTIQ+ football club Pochos: “In addition to being the President of Pochos Napoli, I have also been the person responsible for sports programs in Arcigay for about 6 years. I must say that the Outsport project comes at a lucky moment because it fits perfectly in the historical period when the reform of sport is finally happening in Italy. Sectors of society such as the military orders, the Church, the school system and professional sport are all highly misogynistic environments. Sport in Italy has not had a real reform since the days of fascism. This reform may be considered a great revolution from a cultural point of view. Pochos Napoli is an amateur sports association recognized by CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, founded in 2012 and unfortunately still the only LGBTIQ+ association in Southern Italy that seeks to facilitate the participation of LGBTIQ+ athletes. In 2013, in partnership with UNAR, the National Anti-Discrimination Office, we proposed to include the fight against homobitransphobia in the statute of CONI. An effective sport reform must provide training and information to technicians and cultural elements that can change the world of sport. We hope that this reform will meet these expectations”.
Livan Soto Gonzalez, President and founder of Diversesport, the only LGBTI+ sports club in Andalusia: “When we talk about how we contribute to LGBTIQ+ activism as an association, we first need to take into consideration how we understand the needs of the communities we support. Diversport was founded in 2008 with the aim of educating our members about legal, political and cultural aspects of the LGBTIQ+ community and beyond, while offering them a safe environment in which to practice sport. It was the first LGBTIQ+ sports club in the South of the country. We base our activity on three main pillars: sports, rights and diversity. We believe that our community goes well beyond our small comfort zone, so we have developed civil initiatives and school programs that can inform the citizenry about what diversity is, what human rights are and what legal resources are at their disposal to fight discrimination in all environments.
At the moment, we don’t have a national law that protects LGBTIQ+ people from discrimination, but we have local laws, some of which also act at the sports level, that are on their way to shape a comprehensive bill to forbid discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people throughout the whole country. Our next steps will be focusing on how to educate sports associations and public administrations in the field of non-discrimination. We are part of the civil society and it is also our responsibility to bring about change.
Martin Muñoz, transgender gay activist based in Berlin and Project Manager in Seitenwechsel Sport Club: “The most painful moment of my sporting career was when I had to leave my canoe polo women’s team. That was the moment I realized I could never be in my team again because of my transition. I had to find another place where I could play – sometimes it was really annoying to be in a transfeminist sports place that is supposed to be welcoming towards trans people but actually wasn’t. You always have to explain who you are and you have to fight to stay there.
I consider myself as an absolutely privileged person, as thanks to my job as Project Manager, coach and trainer in SeitenWechsel, a women’s, trans and non-binary amateur sports club based in Berlin, I could manage to create a space for non-binary and trans people during the past 8 years. I advocate for access to sport for all intersex, non-binary, trans and transitioning people because this is an unfortunately very little discussed topic, and it can be a serious issue for many of these people. This is why as an association we are writing an inclusive sports charter aimed at providing access to sport for all, in addition to building an intersex, non-binary and trans network for sports – it is necessary to include the need for safe spaces in which people can train, work out and enjoy sports in the agenda of the many intersex, non-binary and trans associations. We also need more visibility and positive examples from trans, non-binary and intersex athletes and coaches”.
Emiliano Caccia, co-founder and vice-President of Lupi Roma Outsport: “Despite being born less than two years ago, Lupi Roma Outsport, an amateur sports club inspired by the Outsport project, already shows that the topic of inclusion has always been paramount. While most of our activities are dedicated to the creation of a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people in sport, we understand that practising inclusion is the key for a better future. This is why we are in touch with other associations, informal groups and sports clubs that want to have a positive impact on social issues – for instance, one of the first events we organised was a friendly football match with Liberi Nantes, an amateur football team composed of refugees to raise awareness about LGBTIQ+ and migration issues, and this year we took part in an Erasmus+ project called SYI (Sport Youth Inclusion) that utilises the ETS (Education Through Sport) method to foster the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in society. Within the framework of this project we recently put in place a sporting event focused on disabilities, and we will continue to join forces with other initiatives to show that sport goes beyond cultural barriers and it can be an instrument to pull down the existing ones.
We would also like to mention Jelena Celebic, activist, football player and co-founder of the Femslam LBT Sports Club in Serbia, who was not able to participate in the webinar due to technical issues.
At the end of #WebOutsport2020, Rosario Coco and Klaus Heusslein thanked all the guests and presented the Outsport Network: a place for sharing best practices and encouraging new partnerships, fostering the ideas and proposals outlined during the Webinar in the fields of Sport and SOGI issues, education and inclusion. The Outsport Network will continue its awareness-raising actions and wishes to create new opportunities for dialogue.
We are looking forward to seeing you next year for #WebOutsport2021!