Performing professional sport and being a successful athlete while being homosexual are usually seen as a total contradiction. A new exhibition by the FARE partner European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF) addresses the issue of gays and lesbians in sport.
On 4 May Klaus Wowereit, Mayor of Berlin and Theo Zwanziger , president of the German Football Association (DFB) opened the EGLSF exhibition “Against the Rules” in front of 150 invited guests from politics, sport and the lesbian/gay community.
The exhibition shows both the development of lesbian/gay sport and the experience of lesbians and gays in mainstream sport, from grass roots participation to elite competition. The 38 exhibition banners feature the live histories of homosexual role-models in the field of sport including tennis star Martina Navratilova, Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, the late FIFA referee John Blankenstein or the first open gay footballer Justin Fashanu.
In his welcome speech Klaus Wowereit stressed:
We need to campaign, so that the same rules apply in stadiums as in society. Sport and homosexuality are still not compatible in lots of people's minds. We would like to help to challenge taboos surrounding Homosexuality and Sport.
This statement was underlined by the speeches of Louise Englefield, co-president EGLSF, and Iris Hugo-Bouvier of UEFA.
Before Theo Zwanziger wished the exhibition every success in the closing speech of the evening, the Berlin dance club Pink Ballroom added a splash of colour to the already entertaining opening which was moderated by the charming radio personality Shelly Kupferberg.
The exhibition is shown in the main Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus) until May 26, 2010 (opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 18.00 hours, except holidays. Admission free). From June 15 to June 25, 2010 the exhibition will be on display at the Town Hall Wilmersdorf as part of the Berlin Pride weeks. From there the exhibition will travel to the Gay Games in Cologne.
Currently EGLSF together with the FARE partners FairPlay-VIDC, UISP, Progetto Ultrà, Ludia Proti Rasizmu and LICRA run the European Commission funded project Football for Equality: Challenging racism and homophobia across Europe.
Link to Download the exhibition flyer here