Jason Collins is the first active athlete in the major American team sports, who went public about being gay. He played 12 NBA seasons with major play-off teams and is still on to continue his career with the age of 34. In the US, his coming out raised big sympathies up to president Obama, who congratulated Collins for his courage and Michelle Obama added: “This is a huge step for our country.” Wow, a coming out of a privileged (after all his hard work and success) member of one of the most modern societies in the world is considered a “huge step” by it’s own presidential family. Well, then it is.


Especially team sports are still a pretty homophobic area. Kobe Bryant, one of the most successful players of the NBA, joined the conversation with stating that “using ‘your gay’ as a way to put someone down ain’t ok. Delete that our ur vocab.” Back in 2011, Bryant had to explain himself in public, why he used “gay” as a slur against others on the basketball field. Something is about to happen and this example shows that we are far from being at the end of the road here.

We all know that from the school yards and sports fields. “Gay” as a way to put someone down, especially considering a man as somehow weak, is still very common. 60% of sixth grade pupils in Berlin use the word “gay” as a curse word. A survey revealed that this effect is lower, if teachers make homosexuality a topic in their classes. So it is about education and we should watch out children’s mouths already, who of course act after our example.

Today is International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, highlighting the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people. On their website, they state that “In almost 80 countries around the world, loving someone of the same sex is still considered illegal, at times involving lifetime imprisonment and, in nine countries, it is even punishable by death!“

In the middle of Europe, in the middle of our societies, violence is happening. According to a recent study of the EU fundamental rights agency, half of the 93.000 people asked in a survey felt discriminated because of their sexual orientation within the last five years. One fourth of them were offered violence. In case of transgender people, 35% reported the danger of violence, mentally and physically. Many of those attacks were not reported to the police. Maybe because of fear, also fear of homophobic authorities?


This is a matter for all of us, in all countries, milieus and parts of the society. It starts from watching our own mind and tongue and continues in caring about the huge injustice, which is happening to people around the world. Get more information about IDAHO day on the official website and get involved with their simple suggestions how to take action and make your voice count:

Study about Isolation and Discrimination (EU fundamental rights agency)
Study about homophobia among students (German)