The Ovale Citoyen association creates the listening unit “Le Cri des cloakrooms”

A listening and counseling unit for players who have been victims of sexism and homosexuality, called “Le Cri des cloakrooms”, has been launched by the Ovale Citoyen Association in collaboration with the National Rugby League. The goal is to allow freedom of speech on a topic that is taboo in amateur and professional sports.

The Ovale Citoyen Association, launched in 2018, has focused on the sustainable integration into society of people who are discriminated against or excluded through sport.

This year and on Anti-Homophobia Day, Tuesday 17 May, announcing the creation of “Cri des cloakrooms”, a listening and counseling unit that aims in the coming weeks to support each individual in their approach to gender reconciliation. Identity or sexual orientation in amateur or professional sports has shed light on a topic that remains a taboo within society.

Several professional sports federations and associations (LNR, LFP, UNFP, LNH, Provale, etc.) have supported the tool that has become “Necessary for freedom of expression in sports and clubs, such as the Me Too movement and sexual violence in everyday life”admits Lucas Boych, director of anti-discrimination at Ovale Citoyen, whose association was founded in Bordeaux.

In the face of this situation the role of the documentary film “we should talk” Broadcasting on Canal+ antennas last June was an electric shock and awareness. Facing the camera, six professional athletes took the floor to explain the difficulties of exposing homosexuality in sport, the culture of secrecy, masculine locker room relationships and their reactions to ridicule and other anti-gay “jokes”.

A way to make the problem visible and relevant to your teammates and sports clubs to avoid disagreements such as the recent spat over PSG player Idrissa Gaye, who is suspected of refusing to wear the rainbow, a symbol of LGBT support.

“I grew up with the idea that sport has this idea of ​​family, where you can be the person you want to be, have friends and create memories.Lucas Boych explains. But these people do not manage to live these experiences quite like other upright athletes, because they hide their identity to avoid situations of shame.”.

In the role of listening, guidance and information, the association decided to create a “Cri des Vestiaires” cell to collect testimonies from athletes, anonymous or unknown, who find it difficult to reveal their sexual orientation.

A communication platform for employees from the world of social medicine or simply for people who have gone through the same situation, along with a site with a media library (movies, documentaries, books, etc.) .

There is no initiative “punitive target” Regarding structures, warns Lucas Buech. “What we will try to do is support the person who has really experienced violence and not seek to penalize the offending club. We will pass the information on to the associations or people who are most qualified for that if that person wants to.He says. Next, we will look at training and education in clubs, with managers and players, to make them aware of these issues and to break these taboos in the sport.”

a “Pitch tour” In partnership with the National Rugby League, it is already on track in 14 of its top 14 clubs and 16 Pro D2 clubs. Also useful experience to try to collect data and testimonials for “To have a panel of what is in sport, because the current statistics are not realistic if we compare them to the number of gays or transgender people in France and even in the world”.

Isolated cases of homosexuality have been detected by “going out”, but still too few to allow the word to be generalized, especially in amateur sports and its sports. “much forgotten”. The lack of space given and listening structures can largely explain what is considered a statistical rarity, but a “hidden reality” And from “It can cause internalization of feelings or even disgust and an abrupt cessation of team sports for some.”

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