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  • Writer's pictureDiego Tomasino

Honoring Black History Month and International Day Against Homophobia in Sports

Hello, my people!


Each year during the month of February, Black History Month shines a special light, illuminating the achievements, resistance and legacy of the Black community around the world. 🖤❤️💛💚


Origins

This commemorative month has its roots in the United States, where it began as a week of celebration in 1926, proposed by historian Carter G. Woodson , convinced that the world should know the contributions of the Afro-descendant community to counteract false and perverse arguments of racism. The date was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist Fredrick Douglas (February 14). Later, in 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Week , highlighting its importance in an institutional message, and the following year he officially established Black History Month.


February is a time to reflect on the fight for equality and recognition of the significant contributions that black people have made throughout history. At the same time, it is an opportunity to remember the struggles and triumphs of key figures in the fight for civil rights, as well as to celebrate achievements in all areas of society, from politics and science to art and entertainment to sports.


In the context of sports, Black History Month takes on special relevance, as it gives us the opportunity to recognize the lasting impact of black athletes on sports history. From pioneers like Jackie Robinson , who broke the color barrier in professional baseball, to contemporary figures like Serena Williams , whose dominance on the field has inspired millions around the world. Black athletes have challenged stereotypes and paved the way for future generations.


And what about LGBTphobia in sports?

This year, as we celebrate diversity and inclusion, it is also important to highlight another crucial aspect of the fight for equality: the fight against homophobia in sport.


Sport, with its unifying power and ability to inspire millions, should be a place where everyone is welcome and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


However, the reality is that homophobia remains a persistent problem in many sporting environments. That is why the Day Against Homophobia in Sports, celebrated on February 19, is an opportunity to reflect on these challenges and promote positive change.

In this context, it is essential to highlight the brave path traced by LGBTQ athletes who have challenged stereotypes and opened doors for future generations. One of these pioneers is Justin Fashanu , a British football player who became the first openly gay professional footballer in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. His bravery in revealing his sexual orientation in a predominantly heterosexual sporting environment was an act of resistance that made him face discrimination and prejudice.  


Fashanu, born on February 19, 1961 in England, not only stood out for his talent on the playing field, but also for his commitment to authenticity and truth. Despite the challenges and scrutiny he was subjected to, he held firm to his identity and paved a path for other LGBTQ athletes who came after him. Although his life ended tragically in 1998, his legacy lives on as a reminder of the importance of visibility and inclusion in sport.





Making history

In addition to Fashanu, there are many other LGBTQ athletes who have left an indelible mark on the world of sports. Megan Rapinoe , the prominent American soccer player and LGBTQ rights activist, has used her platform to promote equality and inclusion in sports and beyond. Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe , a multiple Olympic medal winner, has also been a role model for the LGBTQ community, as has American tennis player Billie Jean King , whose courage and leadership have paved the way for generations of LGBTQ athletes.


We also recently had the premiere of NYAD, the film that tells the story of Diana Nyad , the first woman to swim from Florida to Cuba at 64 years old. And there are a large number of athletes from Latin America and Spain who every day are encouraged to break stereotypes in elite sports, such as water polo player Victor Gutierrez, skater Jorge Luis Martinez ,soccer player Linda Caideco , boxer Orlando Cruz , sailor Cecilia Carranza , soccer player Douglas Souza , rugby player David Zuñiga , and basketball player Sebastian Vega .


As we celebrate Black History Month and highlight Day Against Homophobia in Sports, we must remember that the true greatness of sport lies in its ability to unite us in our diversity and celebrate our differences .

It is time to continue moving towards a future where all athletes can compete in an inclusive and prejudice-free environment, where each person can be true to themselves without fear of discrimination.

Together, we can make sport – and society in general – a more welcoming and equitable place for all.

 

And what other people can you think of to celebrate this month?




📚 You can get “Come Out! Companies also have to come out of the closet” on Amazon in Spanish , Portuguese and now also in English .


 

 

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