University of Brighton students and Football 4 Peace coaches led a festival of sport for students at Sussex Downs College entitled F4P v Homophobia. The group worked alongside a small group of the college’s enterprise apprentices to run the festival.
The festival is F4P’s own take on the Football v Homophobia international initiative.
The emphasis is on inclusion and raising awareness of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport. We seek to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around LGB & T (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transsexual) people and work towards a future where the visibility of LGB & T people in sport is both accepted and celebrated.
Kelly Hitch, tutor at Sussex Downs College, said:
‘We are educating each other about issues such as homophobia in sport and doing this by playing sport together. The F4P coaches from the University of Brighton are excellent role models for our students. As role models they are helping to maintain an inclusive and secure-for-all culture at the College.’
Students were shown Ian McDonald’s short film ‘Justin’ which explained the life of Justin Fashanu who, to date, is the only openly gay Premier League footballer in the UK. Tragically, because of homophobia in the media and from the stands, Justin took his own life in 1998.
The event was open to all students and staff at the Eastbourne campus, who were invited to come along and play either football or basketball.
It followed the classic format of an F4P competition where mixed teams are formed and play by the F4P values of fair play including trust, respect and inclusion. The teams self-refereed and awarded each other fair play points in addition to the traditional scorelines of goals and baskets.
Graham Spacey, Projects Officer at the University of Brighton said:
‘Today was about lifting aspirations, diversifying opportunities and increasing participation for everyone, as well as tackling one of the biggest issues in sport.’