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'Drive change' Fine Gael Senator says sporting bodies should boycott anti-LGBTQ+ countries

He was speaking after Tom Daley expressed his concerns about homosexuality being illegal in 36 out of 72 countries taking part in the Commonwealth Games

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Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer (Brian Lawless/PA)

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer (Brian Lawless/PA)

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sporting bodies and governments should consider boycotting countries who don’t support LGBTQ+ rights, a Senator has said.

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer was speaking after Olympic diver Tom Daley expressed his concerns about homosexuality being illegal in 36 out of 72 countries taking part in the Commonwealth Games.

Daley is calling on the Commonwealth Games Federation to make the Games a more inclusive place for LGBTQ+ participants.

On Newstalk’s Breakfast Briefing on Thursday morning, Senator Buttimer said that countries who are hostile towards LGBTQ+ rights shouldn’t have a place in sport.

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Tom Daley has won four Olympic medals (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tom Daley has won four Olympic medals (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tom Daley has won four Olympic medals (Martin Rickett/PA)

 

“I think what we need to look at now as world sporting organisations and Governments, we need to stop rewarding and elevating counties who have poor human rights records and who do not support LGBTQ+ rights where people who are gay and are sports people are living in fear,” he said.

“I think it is important that we support gay rights and it is important that we support participation in sport,” he said.

“We need role models and the fundamental point I am making here is that the selection of those countries for major sporting events, for example the World Cup or the Olympics, whilst being competitive, there are many factors in arriving at the decision.

“I think it is important that all the international sporting would have a comprehensive boycott and the Governments would consider a diplomatic boycott or a sporting boycott of countries hostile to LGBTQ+ rights.”

Senator Buttimer said Ireland should use its position on the UN Security Council to drive change and make sport an inclusive place for all.

“We have made huge progress in the last 30 years as a country and Europe is the same,” he said.

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“We are trying to promote a world that is diverse and tolerant where people can reach, as Maslow said, self-actualisation and we are sitting and standing idly by when members of the LGBTQ+ community face significant barriers to participation in life – in non-western countries predominantly.

“I think it is important that we understand that to bring change, we need leadership. There needs to be stances taken by sporting bodies and by Government to ensure people are able to express their full identity, whether it is sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We can’t allow for barriers to self-actualisation or self-flourishing to continue in the world.”

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