Rethinking sport culture and its taboos

The current case of the English cricket player Steven Davies, who announced his homosexuality, raises diverse questions about how far our sport culture and tolerance is developed. Not that he would be the first sport personality, who announces, that he is gay. What is special in his case –  he is at the beginning of his career. Other sportsmen made this confession much later. The rugby player Gareth Thomas came out recently, but he is already established and an old-timer in his occupation. The ex-basketball player John Amaechi had his coming out after his career end.

Achievements in homosexuality

In the last decades, our modern society could achieve a great progress in different areas. The acceptance for homosexuality became bigger, as well. Let’s have a look at different pillars of our system and to which extent homosexuality is integrated in it?

Germanys foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, is gay. The major of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, is gay as well. He had his coming-out in a press-conference in 2001, when he was a candidate for the office of the major. There he said his legendary sentence, which became an icon for many gay people: “Ich bin schwul und das ist auch gut so.” (engl. “I’m gay and that’s a good thing.”) He won the election for major office.

There are artists, which are gay. Elton John is an example. He is married and he recently adopted a child with his husband. So, homosexuality is even accepted by the state, the highest institution in our system.

Why is homosexuality still such a sensitive and mostly concealed issue in the world of sport?

One approach could be, that sport is still a men’s domain. I had a look in the “Irish Independent” today, 1st of March 2011. It contains 15 pages sport coverage. The only article in it, about women’s sport, was 4-sentences “strong” and about women’s tennis.

The macho culture still exists in many sports. Many heterosexual men don’t consider gay men as “real men”, also if they don’t speak it out loud. I can only assume, what people could have for a problem with watching a gay player or even play with him in one team.

Another question, which appears is: What does it has for an impact on a human being when he/she cannot be the person he/she is and always has to hide his/her true self? We all know that this can lead to depression. 

Do the structures of the sport world lie far back behind in comparison to our achievements in society?

The answer is: Yes. Only the catholic church is worse in ignoring developments of modern society. But directly after this, the sport lobby appears. 

We can see a slow development. This is better than nothing. The world of sport needs more strong characters, like Davies, who don’t hide their homosexuality. The chance of more openness in sport with homosexuality is, that it helps to change this traditional macho environment into a more liberal.

The target should be that sport achieves an equivalent development to the modern society.

No one should have to hide himself/herself for his/her sexuality anymore and being restricted in his/her life or his/her occupation for it.

Furthermore, it shouldn’t be something to announce in an interview or even in a press conference. A heterosexual also doesn’t announce, that he/she likes the other gender. It is how it is. And so it should be, to be gay.

When homosexuality is considered as normal as heterosexuality, the world would be a better place for many people.

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