Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fighting discrimination through sport

Sport is part of every man and woman's heritage and its absence can never be compensated for.
Pierre de Coubertin

Stereotypes and prejudices are everywhere, we are literally surrounded by them. Whether it is on the news or experienced personally, we are able to see episodes of discrimination every day, from the lady who hide her bag when a gypsy enters the bus to the recent news about Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe. Intolerance can be overtaken. People, associations, international organizations, together stand to fight discrimination, and one of the main and effective way to do it is through sport. Without any doubt, sport is an integral part of our society, and this is because people are now aware of the crucial importance and benefits of doing sports for living a healthy life. But sport is also entertainment. Everyday millions of people turn on the TV to watch their favorite matches or just to follow the news about the sport they like.

Sport spreads values. It allows knowledge and helps communication as it’s a non-verbal language. But yet, more often than expected we hear about episodes of intolerance, racism, violence, gender discrimination. People with a different color of the skin or a different religious belief, people that are gay or lesbian or that have disabilities are usually excluded from the game. Racist incidents among spectators of sport events are often reported in the media. Famous is the episode that happened in 2014 during the football match Villareal-Barca where somebody from the stands threw a banana toward the Brazilian player Dani Alves just because of the color of his skin. Fans are usually recorded as the main perpetrators of such incidents; however, racist incidents also take place among players, particularly in amateur sports.

Discrimination stems from the lack of knowledge that we have on who is considered “different”.

In many sports across the European Union, minorities and migrants are not represented enough, particularly in the management positions of sport organizations. The International Olympic Committee, for instance, is composed of 106 members, but only 20 of them are women. In some countries, social exclusion and geographical isolation can lead to low participation levels of Roma and migrants in sport activities. In the European report about “Promoting the social inclusion of Roma” the Bulgarian experts highlighted well the problem when they concluded that “Roma neighborhoods and settlements in general do not offer any opportunities for sport and recreation”, while a Czech expert presented a report showing that “most of the Roma (70%) took part in no sport activities and spent leisure time with “sitting activities” or were completely passive”, however, he pointed out that “the Roma themselves – with the aid of NGOs and also European Social Fund (ESF) projects – organize many activities like sport events, Roma folklore and music group. Nevertheless, all these initiatives do not provide enough opportunities for Roma to access valuable leisure time activities”.
The EU is trying to take advantage of the potential that sport has in conveying human values promoting several initiatives such as the MoveWeek, which will take place the next May, and other projects related to the Erasmus+. The Europen Commission, as stated in the EU White Paper on Sport, believes that “better use can be made of the potential of sport as an instrument for social inclusion in the policies, actions and programmes of the European Union and of Member States. This includes the contribution of sport to job creation and to economic growth and revitalisation, particularly in disadvantaged areas. Non-profit sport activities contributing to social cohesion and social inclusion of vulnerable groups can be considered as social services of general interest”.

What can we do to fight discrimination in sport? Sport has an incredible potential to convey human values. Therefore, it is not rare that sport events are used to raise awareness about the importance of human rights, like for example the New York City Marathon where people can choose to run for one of the charity partners and help them raise funds to support their missions and services. Especially in the last years, many famous athletes from all around the world have stepped on the first line becoming ambassadors of huge campaigns against all forms of discrimination. David Beckham, the British born football star, is also known for his commitment with UNICEF to help protect children in danger.
Sport involves all citizens regardless of gender, race, age, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation and social or economic background. Therefore all manifestations of racism and xenophobia, which are incompatible with these values must be condemned.

Nicandro Rosni

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Differences between LGBT people

Very often it happens that people give labels while not knowing what they're talking about. 
If you want to talk about LGBT people you must know that you can find a lot of terms that have different meanings. 
For me it is very funny when I hear someone insulting someone else saying “GAY”, because “GAY” is the acronym of “GOOD AS YOU”, so maybe you have to think about what you want to say before opening your mouth.  
“Gay” is a man that has no problem with his body, who is just attracted from other men and the same is for women, but they are called Lesbians. For sure you know Bisexuals; they are men and women that like both sexes. 
A lot of homophobic men says “I hate Gays” but they really like to watch lesbian porn movies, and I think that it makes no sense, or when men says “I would like to have sex with two lesbian girls”… well, I’m sorry for you but they are LESBIANS, so it means that they don’t like men.  
After these three types of LGBT people we can meet “Drag Queen” and “Drag King”.  
The first category is about men that like to dress themselves like a woman and make shows, for example in disco or in private parties. The second category is about women that want to look like a man, so in short is the opposite of Drag Queens. 
Leaving the Drag’s world we can find my favorite category - Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the amazing world of Transsexuals and Transgender people. 
No, not all are prostitutes, and is not good to think about these kinds of people saying “they just want to have boobs to earn more money with clients”. 
I am transsexual, so I perfectly know the difference between these two types of people.  
Transsexual is a man or a woman who wants to completely change his or her gender.  
Transgender is a man or a woman who just wants to have the appearance of the opposite sex, but doesn’t want to change his or her gender. 
Yes, sometimes we can see this kind of people in the street talking with clients or what else, but I think that I don’t have to remind you that everyone can be a prostitute regardless of their sex or sexual orientation.

Alexis Innocenti