Hide me!


We all want a Scotland free from prejudice and discrimination, and we recognise the significant role and influence sport has in achieving that aim. We also want a healthy Scotland where, again, sport plays a vital role, and the barriers to the full and active participation in sport should therefore be examined and removed.

Overall, the recommendations in this report seek to achieve three key objectives:

  • Leadership to ensure the elimination of homophobia and transphobia in Scottish sport.
  • Practical action to lift barriers to inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and to encourage greater LGBT participation in sport at all levels.
  • A better understanding of the issues relating to homophobia and transphobia in Scottish sport and what should be done to tackle the problem.

These recommendations are designed to be carried forward by a range of stakeholders and action on these recommendations should reflect a level of proportionality and capability for the different stakeholders involved.


1. Visible Leadership

The Scottish Government and the sports sector, which includes Scottish Governing Bodies (SGBs), Local Authorities, Clubs, Local Sports Councils, Leisure Trusts and Sport facility providers, should demonstrate visible leadership on the issue of homophobia and transphobia in Scottish sport, in order to tackle prejudice and encourage greater inclusion and participation of LGBT people.

  • A Scottish LGBT Sports Charter should be created to facilitate the full inclusion of LGBT people in Scottish sport.
  • SGBs of sport should visibly display support for LGBT participation in their sport (e.g. on official websites, social media, annual reports and through other publications).
  • There should be visible support from the sports sector and the Government for initiatives that tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport.


2. National Coordinating Group

There should be a coordinating group established to bring together the stakeholders working for better inclusion of LGBT people and to combat homophobia and transphobia in sport, and to act as an information distribution point. Membership should include the
key stakeholders in this work, for example LGBT sector organisations, local authorities, SGBs, sportscotland and others. The aims of the coordinating group would be:

  • To develop an Action Plan taking into account the recommendations of the Out for Sport research.
  • To discuss strategies and monitor progress.
  • To facilitate a partnership approach and share information.
  • A means to facilitate discussion with the Government.
  • A vehicle to provide practical and policy guidance.


3. Action Plan

The coordinating group should develop an Action Plan to tackle prejudice, and increase LGBT inclusion and participation in sport, including:

  • A clear strategy with deliverable and measurable outcomes to tackle prejudice, and encourage inclusion and participation.
  • Actions would be informed by the Out for Sport recommendations. They would be prioritised against deadlines, with allocated responsibilities.
  • This action plan should be monitored and evaluated periodically.


4. Policies

Scottish Governing Bodies of sport, and those delivering sport, should have clear, embedded and proportionate equality policies which make a positive difference for LGBT participants at all levels.

  • Scottish local authorities, universities and other public sector sports bodies should be supported to comply with the general and specific duties of the Equality Act 2010. This includes pro-actively considering equality when carrying out their work, and paying due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations across the range of protected characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Leisure trusts, SGBs and clubs that are in receipt of public money should be supported by sportscotland and/or local authorities, where appropriate, to work to the principles of the Equality Act 2010 in terms of all protected characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Scottish public authorities should make sure that they collect data from, and consult with, all sectors of the LGBT community as effectively as possible, to meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 as well as providing better, more LGBT accessible services.
  • Scottish public authorities should be encouraged to set new equality outcomes based upon these Out for Sport recommendations.
  • SGBs should be encouraged to work with sportscotland towards the achievement of the Equality Standard for Sport at a level which is proportionate to the size and investment of the governing body.
  • sportscotland should make sure that all SGBs know that they are able to take specific and targeted action to address homophobia and transphobia.


5. Education

Diversity training should be rolled out to ensure a greater understanding of the needs and issues of LGBT people, and to develop a more inclusive approach.

  • LGBT organisations should build long-term, sustainable relationships with sportscotland and Sports Coach UK to develop coaching, training provision and CPD.
  • Mainstreamed equality training which includes awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity issues should be developed for basic level coach education for level 1 and/or 2 coaches as part of their UKCC qualification.
  • Training should be developed for teachers and staff working in schools, clubs and elsewhere, on sexual orientation and gender identity issues including the identification, prevention and challenging of homophobic and transphobic bullying.
  • Local authorities and leisure trusts should make sure leisure centre staff have basic equality training so they can fulfil their requirements under the Equality Act 2010.


6. Changing Attitudes

There should be a public awareness campaign to tackle homophobic and transphobic prejudice, and encourage greater inclusion and participation of LGBT people in Scottish sport.

  • The Scottish Government should take steps to educate the public, SGBs, local authorities and clubs that the Hate Crime and Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation also covers homophobia and transphobia as well as racism and sectarianism.
  • The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act should be implemented robustly to challenge and eradicate homophobia and transphobia.
  • The law on threatening communications should be reviewed to ensure that homophobic and transphobic abuse on the internet can be dealt with appropriately.


7. Tackling abuse

Homophobic and transphobic behaviour in Scottish sport should be actively and effectively challenged.

  • SGBs and clubs should visibly challenge homophobic and transphobic behaviour by participants and spectators.
  • Coaches, PE teachers, sports club welfare officers, SGB community development officers, and other key role models and influencers should exercise zero tolerance of homophobic and transphobic abuse.
  • Homophobic and transphobic abuse in all sports should be dealt with by the Police and prosecutors robustly where appropriate, as a prejudice aggravated breach of the peace or threatening behaviour.
  • The Scottish Government should take steps to educate the public, SGBs, local authorities and clubs that the Hate Crime and Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation also covers homophobia and transphobia as well as racism and sectarianism.
  • The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act should be implemented robustly to challenge and eradicate homophobia and transphobia.
  • The law on threatening communications should be reviewed to ensure that homophobic and transphobic abuse on the internet can be dealt with appropriately.


8. Supporting LGBT Participation

Sports bodies should provide support to encourage LGBT participation in sport.

  • The LGBT sector should offer ongoing assistance to SGBs as they develop actions around LGBT participation and homo/bi/transphobia. This could include working with the SFA on the Football Supporters Charter to tackle issues around spectator behaviour and make football a more welcoming place for everyone.
  • There should be an early and sustained focus from the Government on the issues faced by LGBT young people participating in sport and physical activity, to help reduce the teenage drop off in sports participation by LGBT people. This could include looking at homophobic bullying in sports contexts, the equality agenda in PE teacher training and the the range of sports offered in schools.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission and the LGBT sector should encourage and assist local authorities, arm’s length leisure providers, SGBs, and tertiary education sports facility providers, to gather diversity data in line with best practice on LGBT participation. Too often, diversity monitoring only covers some protected characteristics such as gender but not sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Exceptional work to increase LGBT sports participation and tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport should be showcased, by local authorities and SGBs, recognised and encouraged.
  • Local Authorities, which deliver 90% of Scotland’s sports spend, should be encouraged to share and showcase good practice.
  • The Scottish Government, sportscotland, SGBs and local authority partners should work with equality organisations, including LGBT organisations, to make sure sports clubs and community sports hubs are LGBT friendly.
  • Local authorities, local Sports Councils (where appropriate) and SGBs should be encouraged, through consultation and relationships with LGBT sports groups, to identify and remove any barriers to the full and active participation of such groups in club accreditation schemes and in local club sport generally.
  • Sports facility providers should be encouraged to publish or display information about the changing facilities within particular leisure facilities on their websites. This would include whether they have private cubicles or gender specific changing areas. Particular types of changing arrangements can be a barrier to transgender participation as well as to ethnic groups and others.
  • The Commonwealth Games should champion the positive nature and fellowship of sport and should re-iterate that sport is for everyone, regardless of their background. The Organising Committee should ensure that equality issues including the treatment of LGBT participants and spectators are captured within relevant codes of conduct.
  • Policies around the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) including children should be inclusive of the needs of LGBT young people, protecting them from discrimination as well as from abuse but allowing them to play sport in safe environments where they feel comfortable.
  • LGBT people should be risk assessed and dealt with within PVG systems on the same basis as anyone else, that is, on evidence and not on the basis of prejudice and stereotypes.


9. Capacity Building

LGBT sports clubs should be developed and supported to deliver access to sport and sports programmes across Scotland.

  • SGBs should build links with, and provide support for, LGBT friendly teams/clubs and groups within their sport.
  • LGBT national organisations working in partnership with Scottish Student Sport could assist in developing projects and better links between university and college sports clubs /facilities and LGBT societies.
  • LGBT organisations should assist in the establishment and development of new LGBT and LGBT-friendly sports clubs in order to increase the participation of LGBT people within sport, outdoor activity and physical activity across Scotland.
  • LGBT organisations should develop training and networking opportunities for new and established LGBT sports clubs.


10. Employment

SGBs should work with LGBT sector organisations to improve LGBT-friendly employment practices. This work should be supported by sportscotland and could be carried out in a proportional way aligned to the work that SGBs do through the Equality Standard for Sport.

  • SGBs and other stakeholders should work to widen the diversity of SGB Board members.
  • SGBs with significant numbers of staff should be encouraged to set up workplace LGBT networks.
  • SGBs should work with LGBT sector organisations to ensure LGBT-friendly employment practices.

Whilst improving employment practices for staff will not solve the issue of homophobia and transphobia in sport on its own, we believe strongly that diverse workplaces better reflect the needs of LGBT people, and such efforts would benefit the wider agenda of LGBT inclusion.