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You Can Play Forum to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport

You Can Play Forum to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport
November 3, 2014

Well known athletes, coaches and sporting personalities will come together this week for the You Can Play Forum, which aims to raise awareness and encourage people to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport.

The Forum, being held in Canberra on the morning of Wednesday 5th November, will be available to watch via webcast at www.youcanplay.com.au, with attendees and watchers able to contribute to the Forum discussion through social media.

A joint initiative of the ACT Government, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and Play by the Rules, the Forum will discuss issues in relation to inclusive, safe and fair sport, with a focus on homophobia and transphobia.

Award winning broadcast journalist and SBS nightly World News anchor Anton Enus will facilitate the Forum which will include the following panellists:

• Andrew Barr – ACT Deputy Chief Minister 
• Gus Johnston – Anti-homophobia campaigner and former hockey player
• Clyde Rathbone – Retired Wallaby and Brumbies player
• Heather Reid – Chief Executive of Capital Football
• Dr Caroline Symons – Leading Researcher at Victoria University

In addition to the panellists, an audience, consisting of individuals who are involved in sport across a variety of roles and capacities, will share their thoughts and experiences, and contribute to a dynamic, engaging and informative discussion and debate on homophobia and transphobia in sport.

Introducing the Forum, ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation Shane Rattenbury explains “unfortunately, research indicates that there are still barriers to sport for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and anyone who has been out on the sporting field knows that there are still some elements of discrimination that occur.

“The Forum is an important initiative that aims to educate people and engage sport at all levels to address homophobia and transphobia, so that a more welcoming, safe and inclusive environment exists for everyone.”

Following the You Can Play Forum, the ASC will host a workshop with several national sporting organisations to determine how they can work together to remove homophobia and transphobia from their organisations.

ASC Chief Executive Simon Hollingsworth adds that “the ASC will continue to work with all stakeholders – including Play by the Rules and national sporting organisations – to end homophobia at all levels of sport.

“The diversity and experience of the panel highlights that anti-homophobic practices have the backing of the wider community.”

The Forum comes off the back of the Play by the Rules, You Can Play campaign which featured a range of athletes including David Pocock, Harry Kewell, Libby Trickett and Mitchell Johnson.

Play by the Rules National Manager Peter Downs concludes “the key message of the You Can Play campaign is that on the field it should not matter if you are gay or straight.

“If you can play, you can play.”

The You Can Play Forum takes place from 10.30am to 11.30am on Wednesday 5th November.

More information on the forum and how to watch the web-cast is available from www.youcanplay.com.au.

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