A new sport anti-homophobia initiative — Fair go, sport! — will be developed in Victorian hockey clubs this year.

The 12-month program will be a partnership between the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC), Australian Sports Commission (ASC), Hockey Victoria, and Hockey Australia.

Human rights commissioner Dr Helen Szoke said the $150,000 program will ensure hockey is safe and inclusive.

“Fair Go, sport! aims to increase awareness of sexual and gender diversity in hockey and promote hockey clubs as safe, inclusive, respectful environments for all people — including GLBTIQ people,” Szoke said.

“Sport has the potential to play a vital role in bringing all elements of the community together to promote fairness and discipline, and the importance of character and teamwork.”

VEOHRC said the program has been developed as a result of recent research which shows GLBTI people face discrimination in sporting environments.

Funding for the program was announced last year and comes from the ASC following sharp criticism in 2009 that the ASC had not included GLBTI people in their inclusion-in-sport strategies.

The Fair Go, sport! program will be guided by a steering committee which will include representatives from Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, the RJM Trust, Sport and Recreation Victoria, TransGender Victoria, VicHealth, and representatives from hockey clubs.

The program will pilot ways sporting groups can better engage with and educate those involved with sport — including administrators, managers, board members, coaches, officials, players and spectators — to be more GLBTI-friendly.

Resources will be developed to help tackle discrimination, with the hope the overall program can be rolled out to other sports codes across Australia.

Hockey Victoria CEO Ben Hartung said the program will be trialled in five Victorian hockey clubs.
“The online survey [conducted by Hockey Victoria] has helped to identify attitudes and perceptions of harassment and discrimination related to sexuality and gender identity in hockey,” Hartung said.

ASC Integrity in Sport director Carolyn Watts said the result of the Fair Go, sport! hockey program will help benchmark future ASC strategies to ensuring sport is a safe and welcoming environment for GLBTI people.

“Those principles of equality and inclusion promoted through this program are strongly aligned to sporting principles of fairness, respect, responsibility and safety,” Watts said.

“All community sport members will benefit from the learnings through this project … to maximise participation of all Australians in sport.”

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