CA Brive's English president, Simon Gillham volunteered to host the first homophobia awareness workshop organized by the National Rugby League in collaboration with Têtu magazine and Société Générale . He explains why the players of the Corrèze club will have "no choice" and will have to attend the awareness workshops.
Why are you volunteering with your Brive club?
SIMON GILLHAM. The League knows that I am very committed to this subject and that it is close to my heart. It is the continuity of a permanent fight against phobias in general. What is phobia? Fear of the other and we are afraid of what we do not know. Everyone has their place in a club as in society. In rugby, we celebrate the difference. This sport is inherently inclusive.
You mentioned the case of a player friend in England forced to stop rugby because of his homosexuality…
Yes, he was 20 years old and held the hooker position with the hopefuls in the Exeter club. He was strong, aggressive as it should be. He stopped playing because of all the two-bullet jokes on homosexuals (sic) . He lived them very badly and ended up coming to settle in Paris where he was able to fully experience his homosexuality. He is one of Brive's biggest supporters.
“Twenty years ago, we used the term“ fag ”to designate someone stupid. We can't, we can't anymore ”
For you, we should no longer stop rugby because of its sexual or other differences…
Yes ! One day my son went to training at the age of 8 with an England team jersey on his shoulders. He was then playing in a club in Yvelines. The coach made him do two more field trips only because he was a "rosbeef".
You said you were "a Londoner in Corrèze". What does this mean in relation to the problems of combating phobias?
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I was born in London. It's my city. But I'm also a brivist. I was adopted by Corrèze and Corréziens. I could see in London a lot of progress in the fight against all phobias and not only homophobia. When you don't live in capitals, far from mixtures, it's more difficult. Exaggerating, a two-headed person on the streets of London is not surprising. Even when I arrived in Brive, some said: but what is this Englishman doing here? And Today, I am completely adopted. I find it great that we are discussing these sensitive subjects, that we are moving forward. It is complicated for some to adapt. 30 years ago, we accepted jokes at the table that we no longer accept, because we have all evolved.
Why were you so moved when the study was presented?
Have you seen the words cited to describe homosexuals? It makes you want to cry. Twenty years ago, we used the term "fag" to designate someone stupid. We can't, we can't anymore. This campaign will open the eyes of many people and it will do a lot of good.
Will your players be forced to follow the workshops?
One thing is certain: their presence at the workshop will be non-negotiable. They will have no choice. They will have the right to form an opinion after the workshop. They are adults.
The synthesis of the Oliver Wyman study
LNR Plaquons Homophobie by David Charpentier on Scribd