Football Association Anti-Homophobia Plan is Welcome but Vague
The Football Association (FA) — the governing body of football in England — is committed to tackling homophobia and widening LGBT representation in the sport.
In a statement on FA.com, the organization has adopted a new strategy: Opening Doors and Joining In, which is promoting the inclusion in football of LGBT people.
The FA has pledged to:
- Promote a positive, inclusive image and reputation for the game, its participants and supporters.
- Work with LGBT community and football stakeholders to identify boundaries to LGBT participation and work collaboratively and collectively to address them.
- Preserve player and participant welfare.
- Support professional clubs and our County FA network in developing good practice around LGBT inclusion and engagement.
- Amend the Laws of the Game to outlaw homophobic, biophobic, and transphobic language and behavior
- Encourage and support current and future generations of participants from all communities to join the football family, whether as players, match officials, supporters, coaches, or administrators/volunteers.
Not all are entirely convinced that the pledge is enough. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell—who has campaigned against football homophobia for the last two decades, and is also a member of the Football Association's anti-homophobia working party—calls the effort "commendable," but says lacks specific, concrete proposals.
"To set the agenda and reach the fans, the Football Association should be pressing clubs to include anti-homophobia messages on tickets, in match programs and on stadium screens at half-time," he said in a press release. "This would ensure the FA's new initiative gets high-profile visibility and impacts public consciousness."
He is also concerned that the FA and individual clubs still have no plans in place to support a player who comes out as gay or bisexual.
Venezuelan President's Backers Call Opposition Leader a "Gay Jew"
The Daily Mail is reporting that allies of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, have started a smear campaign against the country's new opposition leader — by questioning his sexuality and mocking his Jewish roots. Henrique Capriles, decisively won the Democratic Unity primary election Feb. 12, and will face off against Chavez on Oct. 7.
The most vicious attacks reportedly have come from state media commentator Mario Silva, who often targets Chavez's foes on his late night TV show, The Razorblade. According to the Daily Mail, while Silva was on-air, he read a purported police document reporting Capriles was caught in a car having sex with another man in 2000. In another incident, a cartoon, that was retweeted by a senior Chavez aide, showed Capriles in pink shorts with a Swastika on his arm, squaring up to a much larger, muscular Chavez. Capriles' grandparents are Holocaust survivors.
In response to the attacks, Daily Mail reports that the 39-year-old state governor said he "wasn't elected to fight with anyone but to solve problems." He went on to say that "the only confrontation I want is against violence, unemployment, corruption, and other problems in Venezuela."
Sweden Poised to End Forced Sterilization of Transgendered People
On Feb. 18, the Conservative Christian Democrats—members of the governing coalition in Sweden and the primary obstacle to ending the policy of forced sterilizations—publicly declared the reversal of their position.
"It's time to abolish the requirement for sterilization at sex change," leaders of the Christian Democrats wrote in an opinion piece published today in the Swedish press.
At present, the law forces transgender persons to undergo sterilization before legally changing their gender, rendering a person permanently infertile.
"This is incredible news for Sweden. It means that anyone will be able to have their true identity recognized without having to be sterilized," said Ulrika Westerlund, President of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights. "It's crucial that the new law comes into place as soon as possible."
The announcement comes after several years of mobilization in Sweden and a massive international outcry coordinated by AllOut.org in January.
"Swedish activists have worked for years to lay the foundation for this victory and I am so proud that AllOut.org could build the international momentum that finally pushed Prime Minister Reinfeldt and party leaders to end this cruel practice," says Andre Banks, executive director of the organization. "It's a victory for Sweden, but it is also decisive for Europe. AllOut.org members across the continent will continue to push online and in Parliament until each of these appalling laws are thrown out with the trash."
AllOut.org is a global alliance of over 850,000 LGBT people and their allies.
Islamic States Blast Gays for "Abnormal Sexual Behaviour"
The United Nation's Islamic block sparked outrage after telling the UN's top rights body that its 56 member states would ignore a scheduled UN rights panel on anti-gay violence, saying they were "disturbed" at the "attempted focus on certain persons" on the grounds of their "abnormal sexual behavior," which "have nothing to do with fundamental human rights."
The Islamic announcement has been obtained by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch and posted on its website, blog.unwatch.org. The announcement is provoking angry reactions from human rights activists.
"Human rights are universal and there is no religious exemption for barbaric violence against innocent human beings anywhere," said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch director. Neuer also called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to condemn the "scandalous assault on the right of gays not to be put to death in countries like Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen."