Eamonn McCartan Chief Executive Sport NI, Caral NiChuilin MLA NI Sports Minister, John O'Doherty Director The Rainbow Project

The Rainbow Project has welcomed the commitment from the Sports Minister Caral NiChuilin MLA to work towards eradicating homophobia in sport in Northern Ireland.

LGBT History Month takes place each year in February and the theme of this year’s history month has been sport, on account of the Olympic Games.

To mark the end of LGBT History Month the DCAL Minister has given her Departments commitment to contributing to the OFMdFM Sexual Orientation Strategy and Action Plan and reaffirmed her support for ensuring that all sport across Northern Ireland, at all levels, is inclusive.

The minister said, “I am fully in support of the Executives commitment to publish a Sexual Orientation Strategy and Action Plan. I am also committed to working with the Rainbow Project to see how DCAL can best contribute to the Action Plan”.

“I am pleased that this work is already making progress and that, as a result, SportNI and the Rainbow Project are now actively considering how best to positively promote greater inclusion and acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in sport.”

The Minister went on to say: “Ensuring a welcoming environment for LGBT people in sport is entirely consistent with the aspirations of DCAL’s sports strategy, Sport Matters, which aims to bring sport to all people in the north of Ireland.  I would therefore call on all sports in the north to fully support this important initiative which is in the best interests of sport as a whole.”

John O’Doherty, Director at The Rainbow Project commented, ‘We welcome the Minister’s commitment to use her department’s resources and goodwill to work towards the eradication of homophobia in sport, at all levels. There are very few, if any, openly gay professional players in Northern Ireland which indicates that the environment for people who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual in sporting clubs or teams may not feel ‘safe’. The absence of openly gay players is mirrored in amateur sports as well.

‘We therefore welcome that Sport NI are signatories of the UK Government Equalities Office Charter on Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport, a Charter that will help to widen access and increase participation and involvement in sport. We also welcome that the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Caral NiChuilin MLA, is committed, through the Sexual Orientation Strategy to move work forward in this area.’



 LGBT History month takes place every year in February. It celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT Community.  http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/. The theme of this year’s History Month is Sport – on account of the 2012 Olympic Games.

For more information please contact Matthew McDermott, The Rainbow Project 02890319030

Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Communications Office Tel 028 90 515047 or email: communications@dcalni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.

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