Sports have always been a great way of bringing people, cultures and communities together. So, if the love for a sport can be an interest that anyone can have in common, one might question if there’s really still a need for LGBTQ+ only teams and clubs.
According to Matt Hill, the Co-Chair of Out For Sport (OFS), there evidently is. The event of OFT, that took place on the 14th of April, was a great example of why most members of the LGBTQ+ community choose to join a team in their community rather than a “normal sport club,” as Hill called it.
“There isn’t that pressure of coming out to people, they know that no one is going to judge them for their lifestyle choices and while there’s a lot of sports that that’s not a problem, it’s a bit like anything, every community wants to feel comfortable in what they’re doing,” he explained.
As stated by stonewall.org.uk, “17 per cent of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people have experienced and 49 per cent have witnessed homophobia or transphobia in sport.” While sports like hokey appear to be more welcoming when it comes to queer people, “seven in 10 football fans who’ve attended a match have heard or witnessed homophobia on the terraces.” Headlines about homophobia in sports never seem to leave our news feeds and at times, they tend to include names of big athletes in the field of football and rugby. Even though this might give the idea that these types of sport are anti-gay, a number of football and rugby clubs did back Rainbow Laces anti-homophobia campaign back in November 2017 and showed their support.
“When I moved in London, the whole reason I stayed in the football team was because I found a group of women I could identify with. It was great because you didn’t have to talk about your sexuality because it simply wasn’t an issue. Everyone was the same,” said Kim Horne, a representative of the Hackney Women’s Football club that’s part of OFS.
Out For Sport London represents more than twenty LGBT sports clubs and teams around the capital. The non-profit, representative organisation raises awareness of LGBT Sports Clubs and their activities while encouraging new members to participation in them. The organisation is also focusing on promoting the health and well-being of its members, regardless of “age, ethnic origin, ability, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identification, belief or political affiliation.”
OFS also promotes the Gay Games, “the world’s largest sporting, cultural and festive event”. The 10th edition of the games, that happen every four years, will take place in Paris in August 2018 from the 4th until the 12th. The celebration of diversity, equality and respect is looking to open its doors to 15,000 participants from over 70 countries around the globe. The Gay Games are for everyone to participate regardless their ability or sex. To find out more visit https://www.paris2018.com/gay-games/.