By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)

International Day Against LGBT-phobia in Sport is an important day to recognize and stand up against the different forms of discrimination in sports that are still prevalent to this day. It is held every February 19th which was chosen to honor Justin Fashanu’s birthday (also on Feb 19th). Fashanu was the first openly gay professional footballer and his career ultimately suffered as a result of the discrimination and hatred he experienced.


On this day, it is an opportunity to encourage discussions about the different issues that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex athletes face in sports. It is also important to build awareness and representation of LGBTQ+ people by recognizing athletes, officials and other sports leaders who are working every day to fight against discrimination and bigotry in sports.


According to Stonewall UK, there are things that every one of us can do to help make this day productive and engaging.


  • Listen to, believe, and uplift LGBTQ+ PoC people in sport.
  • Being a visible ally and encourage conversations at school, work and within your sport.
  • Educate yourself about homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, intersexism and racism in sport.
  • Recognize and use your privilege.
  • Celebrate LGBTQ+ PoC people in sport.


So far today we’ve seen wonderful messages of support and visibility from various professional sports teams and leagues to recognize this day. We would love to see more, so do your part and get the word out there!


Photo by Sarah Mirk via Wikimedia Commons