'Still a lot of work to be done' for LGBT people in society and sport - Nigel Owens


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.24 9 Jun 2019


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Welsh Rugby Union referee and LGBT+ campaigner Nigel Owens says there's still work to be done to deal with homophobia and make sport more inclusive.

Mr Owens, who came out as gay in 2007, is in Dublin for Europe's biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament, the Union Cup.

It's taking place in DCU, with the final being held this evening..

Ahead of the event, Nigel Owens spoke to Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh.

Mr Owens said there's still "huge prejudice and homophobic stuff" out there, observing: "I think society and rugby in particular has come on a long, long way and is inclusive... but there is still a minority out there who are just horribly bad people."

He said the recent attack against a gay couple on a London bus is "totally, totally unacceptable".

He explained: "It shows really why LGBT people feel that they can't maybe express themselves in society and everyday life... and they feel they need to express themselves and be able to be themselves in that LGBT community environment.

"Which is a very sad, sad thing... it does show that there's still a lot of work to be done in society and in sport - although rugby has done a huge amount of great work in that aspect."

He said events like the Union Cup allow people to participate in rugby "and feel safe in the environment as well".

He suggested: "For many, many different reasons, some people may not just feel comfortable playing in their local community rugby clubs.

"[LGBT teams] allow them to play rugby and feel safe... and be able to be part of the game of rugby within the environment that they're comfortable with."

You can listen back to the full interview below:

'Still a lot of work to be done' for LGBT people in society and sport - Nigel Owens

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Main image: File photo of Nigel Owens. Picture by: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

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