20
Feb
08

Not So Sporting

From the BBC: Northern Ireland’s only gay rugby team is promoting a form of sporting apartheid, Sports Minister Edwin Poots has claimed.

Mr Poots said he could not understand the motivation behind the founding of the Belfast-based Ulster Titans.

“I just cannot fathom why people see the necessity to develop an apartheid in sport,” he said.

However, one of the team’s founders, Declan Lavery, said everyone was welcome to join the club. “When the club was set up it welcomed members regardless of their age, creed, religion, sexual orientation or whatever, and that’s how it continues,” Mr Lavery said.

However, Mr Poots said: “It would be unacceptable to produce an all-black rugby team or an all-white team or an all-Chinese team.

“To me it’s equally unacceptable to produce an all-homosexual rugby team and I find it remarkable that people who talk so much about inclusivity and about having an equal role in society would then go down the route of exclusion.”

This is just willful idiocy.

The facts are plain:

  1. The team was founded by gay men.
  2. Everyone is welcome to join whether they’re gay or not.
  3. It is not a gays-only team. There is no exclusion.

Yet his response is to call this apartheid. Is he even listening? Maybe he’d rather have the pootfers just keep their traps shut.

To call this “apartheid” is not only an insult to all the gay men who joined that team because they felt unwelcome elsewhere, but also to all people who really do experience exclusion. It’s precisely this kind of hostility that leads to the formation of gay-friendly sports teams in the first place.

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