Scottish Sport Marks IDAHOBIT 2020

16th May 2020

Scottish Sport Marks IDAHOBIT 2020

Scottish sports community shows solidarity during International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

In times of crisis, it is the most disadvantaged in our communities who struggle to be heard and for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia we stand together as a Scottish sports community to make our voice heard and to speak up for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people around the world. Sport may be on hold, but equality and human rights should not be, and solidarity is as important as ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We've been especially concerned about the shifting human rights situation during the COVID-19 crisis. In Hungary, we are seeing the Fidesz government make changes to the national registry, wielding new legal powers enabled in order to deal with the pandemic. This reformulation effectively makes legal gender recognition for trans and intersex people impossible, in contravention of EU and international human rights law. (Check out the ILGA-Europe twitter feed to see how you can add your voice to their ‘Drop-33’ campaign). In Turkey, increasing levels of hate speech culminated in the public vilification of LGBTI people and people living with HIV by high-level officials. The statements caused Members of the European Parliament to express their concern to the Turkish President, noting that hate speech is not without its consequences.

Concerning shifts are not confined to countries with histories of less progressive equality and human rights. Activists in the UK have expressed concern about emerging narratives from UK Government Ministers and as recently as mid-April a speech by the Women & Equalities Minister received condemnation from activists, more of which is explored in this blog by Charlotte McCarroll.

Equality and human rights issues attract fewer headlines in times like this and laws gifting wider-ranging powers to governments are more easily implemented, this makes it harder to have a voice - #BreakingtheSilence is more important than ever.

We welcome that in Scotland, the Scottish Government has pledged to align their COVID-19 response with a ‘commitment to human rights, equality and social justice’ (Coronavirus: framework for decision making). There is a recognition that moving on from the pandemic will include key ingredients designed to tackle inequality, promote wellbeing and build cohesion and solidarity. "We will rebuild Scotland’s economy, overcoming inequality and advancing human wellbeing. We will work with Scotland’s communities to build cohesion and mutual support."

Sport has a role to play in this recovery too. Many of us in the sports community already know that sport can be as a force for good and has the power to make change in the world. For more details and examples of how you can use sport to promote equality and human rights for LGBTIQ+ people, check out the Outsport Toolkit, which we helped produce last year. 

Written on 16th May 2020.