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

A listening and advice unit for players who are victims of sexual and homophobic discrimination, called “Le Cri des wardrobes”, has been launched by the association Ovale Citoyen in partnership with the National Rugby League. The aim is to allow freedom of expression on a taboo topic in professional and amateur sports.

Founded in 2018, the Ovale Citoyen association focuses on the sustainable integration into society of people discriminated against or excluded through sport.

This year and for the day against homophobia, Tuesday 17 May, the announcement of the creation of the “Cri des wardrobes”, a listening and advice unit, which aims to support all individuals in the coming weeks in his or her approach to reconciling gender identity or sexual orientation in professional or amateur sport has shed light on a topic that is still taboo in society.

Thus, various professional sports leagues and associations (LNR, LFP, UNFP, LNH, Provale, etc.) have supported a 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”acknowledges Lucas Puech, director of the fight against discrimination at Ovale Citoyen, whose association is well established in Bordeaux.

Faced with this situation, the role of the documentary “We have to talk” broadcast on Canal +’s antennas last June served as an electric shock and an awareness. Facing the camera, six professional athletes take the floor to explain the difficulties of revealing one’s homosexuality in sports, the culture of secrecy, locker room relationships marked by masculinity, and their reactions to ridicule and other homophobic “jokes.” “.

One way to make the issue visible and relevant to teammates and sports clubs to avoid controversies such as the recent over PSG player Idrissa Gueye, who is suspected of refusing to wear rainbow flakes, a symbol for LGBT people.

“I grew up thinking that sport had this idea of ​​family, where you could be whoever you wanted, have friends and create memories.explains Lucas Puech. But these people fail to fully live these experiences like other straight athletes because they hide their identities to avoid situations of embarrassment.”

In a listening, orientating and informative role, the association has decided to set up a “Cri des Vestiaires” cell to collect testimonials from athletes, anonymous or not, who have difficulty disclosing their sexual orientation.

A call platform for personnel from the medical-social world or simply for people who have experienced a similar situation, linked to a site with a media library (films, documentaries, books, etc.) should be put into operation from next September. †

The initiative has no “punitive target” against the structures, Lucas Puech warns. “What we are going to try is really support a person who is a victim of violence and not try to punish the offending club. We will pass the information on to associations or people who are more qualified for this if the person so wishes.”he says. Then we will look at training and education in clubs, with managers and players, to make them aware of these problems and break these taboos in the sport.”

A “stadium tour” in partnership with the National Rugby League is already on track in the 14 Top 14 clubs and the 16 Pro D2 clubs. An experiment that is also useful to try to collect data and testimonials to: “to have a panel of what exists in sport, because the current statistics are not realistic if we compare them with the number of gay or transgender people in France and even in the world”

Isolated cases of homosexuality revealed by “coming out”, but still too few to allow a generalization of the word, especially in amateur sports and his “forgotten a lot”† The lack of available space and listening structures can largely explain what is considered statistical scarcity, but a “hidden reality” and that “may cause the internalization of feelings or even disgust and the sudden cessation of team sports for some”.