LGBTQ+ mental fitness in football: Replay!

Part two of our annual #AuthenticMe Week was an event titled ‘Creating Space’ – a dive into inclusive conversations in football…

By Jon Holmes

Our second Sports Media LGBT+ digital webinar for #AuthenticMe Week in 2020, in association with Pride Sports UK, had a football theme.

The week began with ‘Ready, Get Set, Go!: Launching an LGBT+ Network in Sport‘ – watch a replay here – and on Tuesday evening, we discussed ‘Creating Space: LGBTQ+ mental fitness in football’.

Conversations about good mental health are becoming more commonplace in football – so why is that encouraging for LGBTQ+ people involved in the game?

The FA’s Heads Up campaign, which included the signing of the ‘Mentally Healthy Football’ Declaration, and other initiatives nationwide have encouraged those in the sport from grassroots to elite to talk about difficult topics.

Football communities that are stated as being inclusive are vital spaces for those who love the game and who are lesbian, gay, bi or trans, with statistics showing that LGBTQ+ people in general are at a higher risk of experiencing poorer ‘mental fitness’.

Chris Gibbons, Jay Lemonius, Natalie Washington and Annette Nelson discussed how we can make football spaces more LGBTQ+-inclusive

In the build-up to World Mental Health Day on October 10, we explored this important topic through the experiences of individuals who are all helping team-mates, colleagues, and fans to feel empowered to express who they are through football. Skip to 1m 52s in the video below!

The event was delivered with the help of our friends at Pride Sports. You can also access the event through the Football v Homophobia Facebook page and the Pride Sports UK Facebook page.

Joining Sports Media LGBT+ founder / lead and Sky Sports senior editor Jon Holmes for this webinar were…

  • Chris Gibbons, Equality Consultant, Chelsea FC; Director, Inside Inclusion
  • Jay Lemonius, Diversity and Inclusion Officer at The FA and captain of Stonewall FC
  • Natalie Washington, footballer for Rushmoor in the Hampshire County Women’s League and Campaign Lead for Football v Transphobia, as well as other campaigns for trans rights
  • Annette Nelson, Education Lead, Football v Homophobia

Check out our full tweet thread from the webinar for loads of quotes and comments from our speakers, such as the example below… a big thank you to Andrew Henderson from Pride of the Terraces for the social media support.

If you require further information about this event, please email jon@sportsmedialgbt.com or use our Contact form.

AND… we’re also hosting an #AuthenticMe Social via Zoom on Thursday 8 October, from 6.30pm BST. You’re invited! Details here of how to get involved.

Further reading…

An open letter from LGBTQ+ people and allies in football

Seeing the light: The media and gay footballers