How can we help? LGBT+ or ally, let us know

Details of how we’re looking to support those in sport and sports media during the coronavirus pandemic – reach out…

By Jon Holmes, founder and lead of Sports Media LGBT+

When Sports Media LGBT+ started up almost three years ago, networking was our number-one objective.

Since then, we’ve also been active in advocating for inclusion in our own industry and across sport, and as consultants for those who have reached out to us for advice or help.

Now here we are, just a few months into 2020, facing an entirely new challenge presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Providing support and connections is taking on importance beyond Sports Media LGBT+’s original remit. We’re all less certain of what the future holds. For those in our group, the nature of our collective journeys means uncertainty is a familiar feeling.

We want to be useful at this time. One practical step we’re making is partnering up with our friends and colleagues at the Sports Journalists’ Association, Football Writers’ Association, BCOMS and other sports media organisations to fight on behalf of freelancers and the self-employed. This initiative is known as the Sports Freelancer Collective.

Philippe Auclair and Carrie Brown at the FWA have kick-started the Collective, lobbying MPs and exploring all avenues that will make a difference. Read the latest advice over on the FWA website.

To connect with fellow freelancers and the self-employed in sports media, or to help the Collective, join the Facebook group

As part of Sports FC, we’ll endeavour to keep across developments. We also recommend keeping an eye on sites such as Journalism.co.uk, Hold The Front Page, Journo Resources for general industry updates and advice.

Let’s talk about mental health

Social distancing and self-isolation are going to take their toll on all of us in the coming weeks and months. Our network communicates in group chats, on social media and good old-fashioned email, and in person. Whatever works for you, it’s a great way to expand your contacts – and we can help put you in touch with our partners too. Reach out for an intro…

Our key message is encapsulated in #AuthenticMe – the title of our annual October events. We want to shift the conversation around what it means to be lesbian, gay, bi and trans in sport in a more progressive direction – one that focuses on self-confidence, improved performance, and greater wellbeing.

We believe sharing stories of lived experience creates a domino effect, empowering others and also the storyteller. If that sounds appealing to you, let’s talk about it – we know it will be a worthwhile conversation.

Gary Bloom – leading psychotherapist and host of talkSPORT’s award-winning ‘On The Sporting Couch’ show – shared his advice of how to look after your mental health on the SJA website. Take a look here...

#MyWholeSelf

Meanwhile, MHFA England are raising awareness around authenticity in the workplace through their new campaign, called ‘My Whole Self’.

Whatever you do, and wherever you do it, you should feel encouraged to be yourself – but often there are factors that prevent that from happening. We can all help to create cultures and environments in which everyone can thrive.

‘My Whole Self’ is an opportunity to address that, and while there are undoubtedly more pressing matters from a workplace perspective right now, it’s good to focus from time to time on things other than the pandemic, especially for those cooped up at home. If it means we return to our places of work with an enhanced appreciation for inclusion, that’s a bonus.

Your stories

All of the above provides scope for content. Our Google News ranked website offers space for your articles, blogs, videos etc.

We are also well connected to a wide range of publishers, podcasters and other media outlets which may be more appropriate vehicles for your content. Of course, wherever you get published, we’ll make every effort to ensure you’re properly recompensed for your work.

In all instances, we encourage you to consult with us – here’s some examples of where we’ve helped others, and our list of recommended outlets that cover LGBT+ sports.

Our recently released ‘Rainbow Ready’ resources are a demonstration of our commitment to responsible media coverage for people who are LGBT+. Have a read of the strategy and guidelines, particularly if you’re planning to write about a related topic or you’re thinking of sharing your own personal experiences. Again, we want to involve allies as much as possible in this pursuit – you don’t have to be LGBT+ yourself to get involved.

Thanks for stopping by to read this blog and we hope to connect with you further. You can email me directly at jon@sportsmedialgbt.com and I’ll try to reply promptly. Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Jon

Further reading…

Football v Transphobia ready for Week of Action

Sports Media LGBT+ quiz night raises Β£888 for charity

Our network in 2020: Further info on who we are and what we do

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