Rugby star retires to fight homophobia
Monday 16 May 2011
As England's world cup-winning winger, rugby union star Ben Cohen has faced down his fair share of immovable obstacles. Now, after hanging up his boots for the last time, the 32-year-old is taking on sport's most formidable opponent: homophobia. This week Cohen, who won 57 caps and scored 31 tries for his country, sets out on a tour of the US on behalf of a new foundation set up in his name, devoted to fighting homophobia in sport.
Although not gay himself, Cohen has become a gay icon in recent years and has decided to use his high profile to support gay and lesbian sportspeople struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in an unforgiving environment.
Rights campaigners have hailed rugby's leading role in promoting diversity, whilst condemning "reticence" on the part of football bosses to support gay players. To date only one English footballer, Justin Fashanu, has come out as gay.
"Rugby has been leading the way on diversity," said Ruth Hunt, director of public affairs for gay, lesbian and bisexual rights charity Stone- wall. "When heterosexual people take leadership roles it has an impact on the perceptions of younger, straight players which has a big impact on the culture of a sport."
Ben Cohen's Acceptance Tour, which began in the UK last month, will visit six American cities.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...