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02 July 2006

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Equal Access to Sports Regardless of Sexual Orientation

Last week, the Legal Team established by Iskorak, Kontra and the Croatian Women Network addressed the Government of Croatia and its competent bodies regarding the draft-Law on Sports, prepared and presented to the public several weeks ago.

According to the Team, the Draft needs to be further amended in order to harmonize it with Croatian legislation and EU directives. The text states, namely, that “...sports have to be equally accessible to all people, regardless of age, sex, religion, nationality, social status, political or other beliefs and backgrounds”.

The provision, however, lacks an explicit mention of equal access in view of sexual orientation, as a separate identity that needs protection from discrimination in sports.

The Legal Team assumes that the authors of the Law, due to ignorance or misunderstanding, list sexual orientation under the wider category of “other beliefs and backgrounds”, which is unacceptable, having in mind that sexual orientation is not a matter of belief.

The Croatian legislation, states the Legal Team, has already recognized discrimination on sexual orientation basis, and the protection of rights of sexual minorities is listed among the priority areas in terms of protection of human rights in the National Programme for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Croatia, 2005-2008. Therefore, they believe that this is an omission which will be corrected adequately.

”Lamentably, it is not a secret that homophobia remains present inside the sports clubs, as it is in other areas of life and especially employment. At the same time, many gays and lesbians are are top-level sportists and are often discriminated because of their sexual orientation”, says the Legal Team.

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