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Pride Month 2020: How we're making sport more inclusive for the LGBT+ community

Our senior equality and diversity manager Jamie Hooper gives an update on our work around LGBT+ inclusion in sport and physical activity.

16th June 2020

by Jamie Hooper
Senior equality and diversity manager, Sport England

June marks Pride Month in the UK and across the world.

Taking place in the middle of a global pandemic of course means that marking Pride is going to be very different. Most Pride marches and demonstrations have been cancelled or postponed, while some will take place online.

The Pride flag flutters in the sky

But regardless of how it is marked, Pride is a time for all LGBT+ people and their friends and families to celebrate their identities and be themselves, and a time to remember the history of the LGBT+ rights movement

At Sport England, we’re marking the month by updating our logo across all our platforms to feature the inclusive LGBT+ rainbow flag, including blue, white and pink colours to represent transgender inclusion, and black and brown colours to represent LGBT+ people of colour.

This blog is an update on our work around LGBT+ inclusion in sport and physical activity.

What do we know?

We recently commissioned Pride Sports to undertake a 10-week study examining the levels of participation of LGBT+ people in sport.

The report investigates issues affecting take-up and the impact of projects currently out there that are successfully delivering more opportunities for LGBT+ people.

The study focused on:

  • Initiatives aimed at improving participation
  • Volunteering
  • Spectating.

We’ve also established a network for academics across the UK who are working on research in LGBT+ participation in sport. This helps us to keep right up to date with world-leading insight in this area. 

What are we doing?

For the last 18 months, we have worked with a range of partners and organisations to support our work to get more LGBT+ people more involved in sport and activity, because our vision is that everyone in England, regardless of background, feels able to participate.

One part of that work has been with Pride Sports and Gendered Intelligence which has covered a wide range of delivery, most notably the delivery of the Pride Sports Summit and the update of the LGBT+ sport club finder.

We’ve also funded a number of LGBT+-specific projects. These include a grant to Birmingham LGBT+ to deliver the Activate project and funding Trans Pride Brighton to be able to add a wider range of physical activities into the week-long programme

We’re also currently funding The Proud Trust through our small grants fund to deliver a project that will engage young people in Manchester and the surrounding area who’ve been put off from taking part in sport because of LGBT+ phobia in sport settings.

And through our Active Partnership innovation fund, we’re funding Energise Me to develop a ‘Pride in our Workforce’ model for LGBT+ inclusive coaching, as well as to recruit more LGBT+ people into the coaching network.

Elsewhere, we have been working very closely with the Youth Sport Trust and the network of governing bodies of sport based on campus at Loughborough University to develop a space for these organisations to talk more openly about how best to advance LGBT+ inclusion in sport.

What are we planning to do next?

Now that we have an established work programme in this area, we’re able to do more work on LGBT+ inclusion in sport and physical activity than ever before.

Our investments and partnerships across a range of projects will help us to identify “best practice” support and further insight around how to best support LGBT+ people to take part in sport and activity, and we continue to work with the government to help them to achieve their ambitions in the LGBT+ Action Plan.

We're also developing our new strategy for 2021 and beyond. We recently released a document that outlines the direction we'd like to head in, shaped by more than nine months of engagement with our colleagues and the community of organisations who care about sport and physical activity. 

You can review the document and let us know your feedback via this short survey.

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