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Homophobia in Coaching Children and Young People

Homophobia in Coaching Children and Young People

David Turner, sports coach UK Coaching Children Lead

@David_T_scUK

One of the greatest changes in society since I left high school in 2000 seems to be how attitudes to sexuality has changed, perhaps not so much in the older generations.  But when I work with children and young people, it is very clear that sexuality is not usually the taboo it was just 14 years ago.  Of course there are still improvements to be made and bullying is still a problem for many young people in the UK. 

In particular, I still have concerns that homophobia is somehow still acceptable in a sporting environment. If we look at the bullying that children in sport encounter, often this has a homophobic tone.   Why would this be?  Well I think we need to ask the question on whether sporting achievement in men, boys, girls and women is still thought of as being directly related to sexuality in some parts of society. 

I’m pretty certain that coaches are a smart bunch and know that such generalisations are nonsense. What's more most coaches will be so busy trying to develop children and adults in sport that the do not have time to worry about a participants sexuality. But despite this I still think that it is important that coaches of children and young people are able to recognise homophobic bullying when it occurs and deal with it appropriately.

sports coach UK are currently developing an E-Learning module as part of our forthcoming Safeguarding and Protecting Children Online Renewal Course, that will cover  ‘Communicating with Children in the Digital Age’.  This module will cover how cyber bullying (and other bullying) of children still has a homophobic tone in many instances and how coaches can respond appropriately to this.  I hope the module and its parent course prove to be valuable tools for coaches of children and young people.

Other useful resources:

Homophobic Bullying in Youth Sport – CPSU Briefing

https://thecpsu.org.uk/resource-library/2013/homophobic-bullying-in-youth-sport

The NSPCC and the Child Protection in Sport Unit have recently produced a webinar that:

  • explains the benefits of involving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender children in sport and education
  • considers ways in which organisations can improve opportunities for LGBT young people.
  • looks at ways to tackle homophobic bullying within organisations.

You can access the webinar for free here.