A study conducted by Sport England showed that ‘data on the physical activity levels of the LGBTQ+ community and the sport they play is less well established’ than in heterosexual sports.
The belief has prevented many LGBTQ+ people from participating in sports.
Sport and football in particular have been seen as heterosexual and male dominated for many years, however inclusive sports teams are combatting the stereotype this Pride month.
Sport England is actively trying to work with local groups and charities to understand how they can encourage LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports. They aim to get LGBTQ+ people to get involved at both local and national levels through creating safe spaces and teams.
A well-established and inclusive Football team is Nottingham Lions Football Club. Set up in 2006, the club is the only LGBTQ+ football team in Nottingham and Derbyshire.
Robbie Jacques, social media, and commercial officer for the club says the club “thrives to make football a more inclusive and welcoming place for all,” through welcoming “players of all genders and sexual orientation, regardless of ability.”
Robbie shares that the team play “in a national LGBTQ+ League – the Gay Football Supporters Network which brings together like minded, inclusive teams from all over the country.” The Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) created the GFSN league aimed at creating an inclusive space in football for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and is currently the world’s only national league.
Robbie himself has been nominated as a positive LGBTQ+ role model in the National Diversity Awards. Their impact extends beyond the pitch as they are heavily involved with trying to promote inclusivity locally to support “LGBTQ+ and mental health charities and venues in Nottingham.” A charity the club works closely with and has raised money to support is Notts LGBT+ Network.
The non-profit organisation is based in Nottingham and was founded in 1975 to “create a safe space for people looking for help and advice relating to LGBTQ+ issues.” Since its launch, the charity has helped more than 80,000 individuals and has partnered with over 100 organisations to offer support and advice for the LGBTQ+ community in Nottinghamshire.
The network helps organise and support pride events to help “give confidence to those people who are just coming to terms with their sexuality or gender status.” David Edgley, spokesperson for Notts LGBTQ+ Network, says that pride month “provides an opportunity to the various local organisations and companies to demonstrate that they are aware of the community and are making progress in becoming supportive.”
Edgley said: “There are several micro-communities as indicated by the ever-extending alphabet soup of LGBTQIA+, but on Pride I really do feel that there is a community. People are celebrating and visually saying ‘yes, this is me, here is who am’ in all their varieties.”
He urges people to consider that “Pride is also a political statement” and can be used to evoke change. He adds that this event can remind and inform people of the unfair treatments people in the LGBTQ+ community faced historically and in more recent years.
Solidarity from people identifying as LGBTQ+ and allies remains important so that Pride month can act as “a protest against the horrific treatments handed out to LGBTQ+ people in other countries.”
Pride is also a political statement
David sums Pride up as “a highlight of the year” not only for those in Nottingham but for the whole LGBTQ+ community.