This week we are proudly participating in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces ‘Come Out Active’ Campaign. This campaign aims to celebrate LGBTQ+ students in sport at UoB and help create an inclusive, active campus.
So, why is this campaign important? Unfortunately sections of our society are still homophobic and transphobic and this carries over into sports teams. As over 80% of LGBTQ+ people have experienced the use of homophobic slurs (Englefield, Cunningham, Mahoney et al, 2016) and 43% of LGBTQ people don’t think sporting events are a welcoming space (Bachmann and Gooch, 2017). We need to participate in the Rainbow Laces campaign in order to challenge these statistics and raise awareness of the importance of inclusion. Not only is it important to make our communities more accepting and challenge oppression, but increasing LGBTQ+ equality in sport has real benefits in helping the community be healthier and happier. We need your help in order to accomplish this so please get involved with our campaign!
Transgender people in particular are less likely to participate in sport compared to any other LGBTQ+ people and we need to make sure we highlight the specific barriers the trans community faces. We should be striving to not only have a wide range of non-gendered sports options but also make gendered sports an inclusive place for transgender people. This is especially important in a time when media attention relating to trans, intersex, or gender non-conforming people in sport tends to seek to prevent them from participating, or otherwise dismiss their achievements. For example Caster Semanya, an intersex woman, was told to take medication to reduce her testosterone in order to participate in women’s sport. We want to make sure, in our campaign, that EVERYONE is included, and can feel comfortable participating in sport on campus.
We’ve been working hard to make this campaign great and inclusive, so here are some of things we’re doing…
On Wednesday 27th November the BUCS Super Series event Uproar takes place on the Stonewall Laces Official Campaign Day. All University of Birmingham participants will be wearing rainbow laces, and the LGBTQ+ Association is helping run an information stall with flags, face paint and flyers to inform students about the issues we’re raising.
We’re also hosting a LGBTQ+ Sports Night on the evening, with the Guild decked out with rainbow flags, for all to see that sport is EVERYONE’S game. To top off the week we are running a social media campaign to celebrate LGBTQ+ student athletes, in which OUR students are telling their UoB sports stories.
However, this week isn’t the end of our work. We want people to feel included, whether they are LGBTQ+ or not, out or not, and we all need to come together to make this happen.
People under the age of 22 are even more likely not to be out in their sports club. We want you to be healthy in whatever way you can and however you feel comfortable, while we all strive to make University of Birmingham sports more inclusive in the future.