It didn’t take long for Jake Daniels to be honored when he recently opted to come out openly as the UK’s first active professional footballer.
Daniels has been welcomed all over the world, and on the Swedish side, he is now welcomed by the RFSL (National Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queeras and Intersex People’s League).
Every time someone tells who they are, the world becomes a slightly better place. We applaud Jake Daniels and hope many more follow. Hopefully, it will pave the way for those who leave the sport at a younger age due to fear, for example, of homophobia, still continue to play, says Tarifa Shkeli, president of the RFSL.
“Sports clubs are beginning to show themselves”
Tarifa Shkeli also describes how the Swedish sports world works with inclusion for all people.
We know that the sports movement has an ongoing work to invoke heterogeneous forms in activities and to make everyone, including LGBT people, feel welcome in sports. How it is done varies depending on the sports federation it is around. The Swedish Sports Confederation also offers a variety of education and methods that the federations can use in their work. RFSL also offers training, says Shackley and adds:
Many sports federations are beginning to appear, for example, at local pride ceremonies to clearly indicate that sport is for everyone. Case in point Luleå Hockey, who walked out early and took a stand. During SHL Prideweek 2022, RFSL in association with SHL conducted trainings for all 14 SHL clubs, and this is something we are pleased to do in more sports. We have also collaborated with, among others, the Swedish Football Association, the Swedish Ski Federation, the Swedish Volleyball Federation and the Gymnastics Federation.
“Good leaders are needed at all levels.”
Tarifa Chakli also believes that development with regard to integration into sports is progressing, and that many federations have taken important steps in this regard.
– LGBTQI people have of course always been into sports. That more and more people are daring to open up about their LGBTQI identity is a good sign. Many federations have taken important steps in raising awareness and changing the environment in the world of sport so that everyone can develop to their full potential. At the same time, we know that LGBT people remain vulnerable. So it takes good leaders at all levels who can set the tone and make sure that the courses, the locker rooms and the matches really welcome everyone. Sports is a wonderful thing that everyone should be able to participate in.
Wants to contribute more knowledge and skills
From the Swedish Sports Federation’s side, Sofia Karlsson, who works among others with issues related to inclusion in sport, explains how they deal with these types of issues.
We, the Swedish Sports Confederation, for example, arrange training for each of the federations and counties in terms of standards and inclusion to support the knowledge part and ensure that there is competence and that it is presented to our member federations. It can be about reviewing our work and thinking about the standards we have.
– Then we financially supported fifteen different syndicates that are conducting a survey for inclusion related to all the grounds of discrimination. There we provided an opportunity to get a clearer picture. Then we have a project with the RFSL called “Sports for All Bodies”, so we try to keep going. The experiences and knowledge that came from there. It can be even better by supporting more with knowledge and competence, and we are developing that now. Sofia Carlsson says, among other things, we invite all unions and counties to Stockholm Pride in August in order to take part in the issues.
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