Friday 17 May 2013, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) sees the official release of a brand new Football gaming app for mobile devices onto the market. Designed with an emphasis on fun and to challenge the skills of 11-16 year old gamers and other users, ‘UpFront’ also carries an important message – “Discrimination in sport is wrong”.
The game is released by the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF) as part of its ‘Pride in Sport’ project, an initiative funded within the European Commission’s Preparatory Actions in the Field of Sport.
Andrej Pisl, EGLSF Development Officer explains: “Education has a huge part to play in tackling discrimination, hate speech and violence in sport. We wanted to create an education tool that young people want to play first and foremost, that helps them understand that football should be for everyone.”
The launch of the game coincides with the release of a report by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) into the experience of ‘Being LGBT in Europe’, which highlights persistent levels of discriminatory experience in schools by young LGBT people. 91% of respondents in the research had ‘seen or heard negative comments or conduct before the age of 18 because a schoolmate was perceived to be LGBT’.
EGLSF Co-Presidents Armelle Maze and Klaus Heusslein conclude “Even in countries with robust protective legislation, the experience of young LGBT people remains negative and homophobic and transphobic bullying remains rife. Quite often sport, and in particular school sport, can be a focus for this. EGLSF is working to affect a culture change in sport throughout and this has to start with young people.”