Sport et Citoyenneté

As part of the Football for Equality project, the exhibition “Against the Rules – Lesbians and Gays in Sport” will be shown in 6 different European places – Ljubljana, Wroclaw, Budapest, Bosco Albergati (Italy), Vienna and Bratislava in May 2012 – April 2013.

Martina Navratilova, Amelie Mauresmo or Marcus Urban – just to drop a few names of sportspeople most of you know. What they have in common? They came out, live their homosexuality open and challenge the ignorance of homosexuality in the sports world.

The issue of gay and lesbian participation in sport is still a taboo subject that is usually only talked about behind closed doors, but rarely discussed in the open. There is hardly a single area of society in which the participation of homosexuals seems as abnormal as in sport.

Even though society’s attitudes to sexuality have changed, the assumption still remains that sport and homosexuality do not mix; lesbians and gay men are still largely ignored or openly rejected in sport. Gender, Sex and Sexuality play a central role in the arena of sports and are on the other hand constructed through sport; Masculinity and Feminity as norms of “physical” appearance and bodies as well as behavior and attitude are formed and learned. It is quite obvious, that for example different sport disciplines still are highly gendered – just keep in mind the different meanings of ballet and car racing. And heterosexuality is a fundamental part of the creation of sex and gender and vice versa.

However, the situation is slowly changing. And there are a lot of examples of sportspeople, who came out and stand openly to their homosexuality although they are still confronted with prejudice. These sportspeople have to be acknowledged as role models for the fight for equal rights and treatment for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals.

Touring through Europe! Where to see….

The exhibition Against the rules, orginially in German and initiatied by Klaus Sator together with the Centrum Schwule Geschichte Köln (Gay History Centre) and 2010 updated and translated into English by the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF), makes visible the (hi)stories of discrimination against LGBTIQs in sports but also the various ways of self empowerment and selforganisation which aim at making sport a tolerant place, where acceptance and Fairplay is part of the game.

Within the EC-funded Football for Equality-project the exhibition is to be translated in four more languages (Slovenian, Polish, Italian and Slovakian) and will tour through 6 cities. “Against the Rules – Lesbians and Gays in Sport” will be shown:
in LJUBLJANA (Slovenia) as part of the Football-for-Equality Tournament and surrounded by the U-17 European Championships in May (opening: Tuesday, 8th May). It will be surrounded by a Round Table of experts in the field of Sports and Antidiscrimination.

  • in WROCLAW (Poland) during the EURO 2012 which this time is hosted by Poland and the Ukraine. The exhibition will be shown in the Pride House (organized by EGLSF and also part of the project). For the first time ever, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-, Trans- and Intersexual people and Queers (LGBTIQs) will be a visible (and protected!) part of a big football Tournament. Visibility is a crucial requirement for acceptance.
  • in BUDAPEST (Hungary) the exhibition will be launched during the EuroGames 2012.
  • in BOSCO ALBERGATI (Italy) during the Mondiali Antirazzisti 2012, also surrounded by a round table.
  • in VIENNA (Austria) during a queer-feminist Women’s Football Tournament on September 22nd ( as well as for a longer time in October accompanied by a discussion round and other events.
  • in BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, in February 2013, also together with a round table

The exhibition does not claim to be exhaustive, but aims to help remove the taboos from the subject of homosexuality and sport, and draw attention to the various forms of discrimination against sexual minorities in sport.

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