12:24 | 18th April 2019

News: UK

Thu 23 Jun, 2011
By Sam Bristowe

I think a lot can be done in a number of sports but particularly, I fear, on the football terraces

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Prime Minister David Cameron played host to number of influential people within the LGBT community at Downing Street as he discussed the matter of tackling homophobia in sport.

Conservative PM Cameron opened his doors for a night he called “My party for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sports stars”, which also included other members of the LGBT community outside of sport, all in a bid to tackle homophobia and to show a united front.

Attendees at Number 10 included the likes of former Welsh rugby ace Gareth Thomas, previous Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King and straight England rugby player Ben Cohen, who recently embarked on his own campaign to battle homophobic bullying and continues to do a lot of work with the GMFA.

According to, Home Secretary Theresa May said about the evening: "Just look at how few sports people have come out.

I think that is a sign of the fear and the concerns they have about being able to do that. They don't feel able to be themselves, they should feel able to be themselves.

"I think a lot can be done in a number of sports but particularly, I fear, on the football terraces. Spectators often feel themselves hearing the sort of comments they should not have to hear."

Former Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King said: "The difficulty is are you going to be criticised or isolated in your job environment [if you come out]? Sometimes it depends on their environment and the people around them. The most important thing is they have to be safe. I lost all my endorsements in 24 hours [when I came out], I lost a lot of money. Today that would not happen. When Amelie Mauresmo came out she did not lose any endorsements – in fact she got extra ones.

"I just hope that this [campaign will] help someone out there who's on the fence."

Gordon Taylor, Head of the Professional Footballers Association also attended the evening and commented about what has to be done to tackle homophobia in sport and especially in football: "We have to follow the lead set by other sports, such as rugby, cricket and tennis, and... from that point of view, footballers who want to come out have every confidence they can come out and be equally respected by both spectators and supporters alike."


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