Ireland: Young people key to combatting homophobia: LGBT rugby chief

Educating young people about the evils of homophobia was a key message from Europe's largest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament, the biennial Union Cup, held in Dublin last weekend, organisers said.

Richie Fagan, chairman of the organisers and president of the Irish LGBT inclusive rugby club Emerald Warriors, invited his 12-year-old nephew's school team to play against Blackrock College. The young boys took to the pitch amidst a cacophony of noise with families comprising a mix of same-sex parents and heterosexual parents in the crowd.

Many said the atmosphere reflected how far the formerly conservative and Catholic Church-dominated Ireland had progressed since the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015. Ireland's probably most famed product, Guinness, even painted their gates in the rainbow colours. However, Fagan -- who has seen the Warriors grow from 40 to 160 members in five years and has secured a historic three-year sponsorship contract with Bank of Ireland -- said away from the revelry there is a serious message.

"I have a beautiful relationship with my nephew and I want him to understand LGBT and rugby," he told AFP. "I want him to be the kind of kid who would stand up in school and say bullying someone because of their sexuality is not acceptable. He has a phenomenal bunch of friends and the way forward is I want them to see I am educating them.” Read more via AFP