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LGBTQ+ Sports Campaign

This week I am proud to be supporting the LGBTQ+ Sports Campaign to celebrate LGBTQ+ students in sport at University of Birmingham and help nurture an inclusive, active campus community.

Over the week, our sports clubs are getting behind the campaign and showing their true colours by wearing rainbow laces to show some support and love to LGBTQ+ members within their clubs.

On Wednesday the BUCS Super Series event Uproar falls upon the Stonewall Laces Official Campaign Day with all participants wearing rainbow laces and the LGBTQ+ Association running a stall with flags, face paint and fliers to inform students about the issues we’re raising. We’ll also be hosting our LGBTQ Sports Night this Wednesday evening, with the Guild decked out with rainbow flags for all to see that sport is EVERYONE’s game.

To acknowledge the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community in sport a few students have written about their experiences. Here are their stories:

1.

Name

Cath

Sport

Kayaking, Kickboxing, Volleyball

Identifies as

Bisexual

What is your UoB sport story?

I joined kayaking in my first year and had a great two years, competing for the University in canoe polo (it’s kind of like netball in a boat) and learning how to do whitewater boating. I was social secretary for kayaking last year. This year I decided to try something new and have been doing kickboxing and recreational volleyball.

Has the way you identify ever caused any barriers to participation in sports at university?

I was nervous about joining sport at university after homophobic experiences at school, however, it has been a lot more inclusive than I expected. Often people presume I am straight, which can make me uncomfortable because then I feel there is pressure on me to correct people. I have also dealt with ignorant stereotypes about bisexual people as well as homophobic language at sports night.

Do you have any advice for LGBTQ students looking to get involved in sport?

Do it! Don’t let worries about homophobia and/or transphobia limit you if you want try a sport. Campaigns like this one show that University sport care about these issues and mean that more teams will be aware of barriers LGBTQ+ people face in sport.

What's your proudest sporting achievement?

Making the BUCS team for canoe polo!

2.

Name

Lucia Harridge

Sport

Women’s Rugby Union

Identifies as 

Lesbian

What is you UoB sport story?

I came to uni really wanting to do rugby. I’d never had the opportunity to do it before and thought it would be really fun. One year down the line I’ve recently moved up to the 1st team, got voted as social sec of the club, and have made some of the most amazing friends. Sport is such a big part of my life at UoB and I absolutely love it. Rugby is such an amazing sport and I would recommend it to everyone!

Has the way you identify ever caused any barriers to participation in sports at university?

No, my sexuality has never been an issue. In my club everyone is so accepting. No one cares what you identify as or who you like, everyone is treated the same, everyone is friends with each other. I feel so comfortable telling people in the club about my sexuality as I know they won’t think of me any different as it isn’t a bit deal to them.

Do you have any advice for LGBTQ students looking to get involved in sport?

Don’t ever let your sexuality stop you from doing things. It is such a huge part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you! You are still you regardless of your sexuality. If people don’t like it, that’s their problem - but it shouldn’t be a problem people have. Be proud of who you are and just go for it!

What’s your proudest sporting achievement?

My proudest moment was being chosen as one of the starting XV for the 1st team for our home match against Glasgow. Having only picked up a rugby ball for the first time just over a year ago I’m so proud of how much I’ve developed.

3.

Name

Sebastian Gilbert

Sport

Kayaking

Identifies as

Bisexual

What is your UoB sport story?

I joined the University a year ago for post-graduate studies and already had my eye on the Birmingham University Kayaking Club after joining a similar club during my undergraduate degree. My last club had always been aware of inclusivity so I was interested to see how UoB would approach it.

From the start I felt welcomed to the club, making lots of new friends and never felt excluded from the activities. It was obvious I had previous experience so now I help organise sessions and coach some of the canoe polo teams. I’m proud to see others enjoy the sport as much as when I was introduced to the world of kayaking.

Now I have been on countless socials, trips across the UK and even to the Southern Alps with the new friends I have made in the club and look forward to making more memories like it in the future.

Has the way you identify ever caused any barriers to participation in sports at university?

Maybe because I’ve never gone out of my way to tell everyone of my sexuality but it has never been a worry of mine. I prefer it that way because then it means you’re not labelled for your sexuality but people know you for you.

Do you have any advice for LGBTQ students looking to get involved in sport?

Getting stuck into a sport is a good way to make lasting friendships and great memories, so why not get involved?

What’s your proudest sporting achievement?

Gaining my Level 4 coach training qualification through the club, enabling me to give back to the sport after the kind volunteers did the same and led me down the rivers when I was new to the sport.

4.

Name

Sarah Fullerton

Sport

Pole Fitness

Identifies as 

Pansexual

Has the way you identify ever caused any barriers to participation in sports at university?

I was nervous about joining a sport due to anxieties around being accepted, i.e. fears that girls might assume I’m “ogling” them in changing rooms just because I am attracted to girls.

Do you have any advice for LGBTQ students looking to get involved in sport?

Since joining pole fitness, I have realised how open minded people can be, and have felt fully accepted. I have even found people that have shared some of my experiences as part of the LGBTQ community. From my personal experience, I know that there ARE people in sport who will accept you for who you are, and your sexuality/identity should never stop you doing what you love.

What’s your proudest sporting achievement?

Getting onto the competition squad despite only starting pole fitness this October!

5.

Name

M Moore

Sport

UoB Pole

Identifies as

Genderfluid and Pansexual

What is your UoB sport story?

I joined the University’s Pole society at the beginning of this year (my final year) after wanting to for the last two.

Has the way you identify caused any barriers to participation in sports at university?

Thankfully, no. Although I have had fears about how people will accept me, particularly in such a women-dominated space, I have been accepted in the same way that everyone else who was new to Pole has been.

Do you have any advice for LGBTQ students looking to get involved in sport?

Without sounding too much like Shia LaBeouf, just do it. If there is something you’re interested in doing, go ahead and try it out. Even if you don’t like it or you’re scared how people will view you, you won’t know without trying. I wish I had joined Pole in my first year, and I should have just gone and tried.

What’s your proudest sporting achievement?

Actually going along to the first session. I had even bought a membership last year and never actually went because I was so nervous, but now it’s my favourite part of the week. It doesn’t matter who you are when you’re on the pole, you just get to be yourself and have fun, and spend most of your time trying not to fall off.

6.

Name

Anon

Sport

Football

What is your UoB sport story?

I started playing in the UoB Women’s Football 3’s team in year one and have continued since then. I am now in my final (3rd) year.

Has your sexuality ever caused any barriers to participation in sports at university?

No.

Do you have any advice for LGBTQ students looking to get involved in sport?

Whether a sports team has many LGBTQ members or not, it should not stop you from getting involved. Sexuality is completely separate to sport. Despite the weird correlation of gayness and women’s football.

What’s your proudest sporting achievement?

Year 8 High Jump record at Secondary School

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