LGBTQ+ rights and Commonwealth Games to be discussed by #AuthenticMe panel at Sporting Pride Conference

Published by Jon Holmes on

Aston Villa star Anita Asante, swimmer and trans rights advocate Eden Elgeti, Birmingham-based campaigner and activist Khakan Qureshi and the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Hartwell Mhunduru will speak at event at Pride House Birmingham venue on Saturday 23 April, early evening – register to attend

By Jon Holmes

The #AuthenticMe panel – Eden Elgeti, Khakan Qureshi, Anita Asante and the CGF’s Hartwell Mhunduru

As Birmingham 2022 approaches, how can the platform provided by the Commonwealth Games be used effectively to push for change on LGBTQ+ rights?

It’s a question that will be discussed in depth at a special #AuthenticMe panel event being held in Birmingham city centre in the early evening of Saturday 23 April, as part of the one-day Sporting Pride Conference.

The free-to-attend Conference is bringing together people from across the LGBTQ+ sport and physical activity sectors, such as those working for or with national governing bodies and their network groups; plus members and potential participants of inclusive sports clubs.

Rounding off a busy programme of workshops and plenaries above The Loft on Bromsgrove St will be our panel event (arrivals 5.30pm for 6pm start in the Main Bar area).

#AuthenticMe is Sports Media LGBT+’s initiative celebrating how being your authentic self boosts performance in sport. Since we started up in 2017, we’ve held dedicated events exploring this theme at the BBC in Manchester, Twitter HQ in London, and online.

Now we look forward to being in the same venue that Pride House Birmingham will occupy this summer – a hub for LGBTIQ+ inclusion at the Games, serving as a catalyst for important conversations on human rights.

All Conference delegates are invited to attend #AuthenticMe. If you’d like to request a separate invite to just the panel event, please email

Two-thirds of Commonwealth nations still have anti-gay laws on their statute books, mostly enacted during the colonial era, while anti-LGBTIQ+ discrimination – particularly the rise in transphobia – continues to blight all our societies.

Though the power of sport is harnessed by many to promote inclusion and equality worldwide, there are challenges old and new facing our LGBTQ+ communities, on and off the track, pool, arena or field of play.

In this context, our panel event will explore the opportunities that Birmingham 2022 presents, and ask how the Pride House Birmingham ethos of ‘Celebrate, Participate, Educate’ can have a positive impact at home and abroad.

Host and panel

Beth Fisher

Beth, who will chair the discussion, is the Sports Reporter and a presenter with ITV News.

A former Wales hockey international, she is an ambassador for Athlete Ally and LGBT Sport Cymru, and a Stonewall Sport Champion.

Anita Asante

Anita is in her second season with Aston Villa in the WSL, having won 70 caps for England, played at the Olympics for Team GB, and won the Quadruple with Arsenal.

She is an ambassador for Show Racism The Red Card and Amnesty UK; and a member of the FIFPRO Global Player Council. She is passionate about all forms of inclusion in sport and among the initiatives she has supported is the Ghana Football Project; her grandparents still live in the country which is part of the Commonwealth. In an interview with The Guardian last year, she said: “People might say I’m an activist but I just believe that I found my voice.”

Eden Elgeti

Eden is a transgender woman, an ambassador to Swim England, and an LGBTQIA+ rights and visibility advocate. Based in London, she has been posting on Instagram at @thetransgenderswimmer since March 2020 to share her passion for swimming and in September of that year, she became the first out trans woman to complete a marathon distance swim.

She has also collaborated with Speedo, and a short documentary film ‘Eden’ about her story is currently playing at selected film festivals.

Khakan Qureshi

Khakan is a leading LGBTQ+ campaigner and activist who was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List 2021.

He is the founder of Finding A Voice, a voluntary-led organisation for the South Asian LGBT+ community, and won the Midlands Zone ‘Birmingham LGBTQ+ Community: Outstanding Achievement Award’ last summer for his lead on the advocacy of LGBT+ education in schools.

A member of the Pride House Birmingham Advisory Board, Khakan has written articles about his personal experiences of being a gay Muslim for Attitude, The Gay UK, and Gay Times, and has appeared on various media formats exploring representation within the LGBTQ+ community and mental health.

Hartwell Mhunduru

Hartwell is the Human Rights and Inclusion Lead with the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Employing a multi-disciplinary approach to human rights, management, and problem-solving, he comes from a strong education background and has extensive experience in capacity building and technical support within the civil liberties space. He also leads the Commonwealth Sport Pride Network and is responsible for the implementation of the strategic human rights statement across the Commonwealth Sport Movement.

Event details in full

Date: Saturday 23 April 2022

Time: Arrivals from 5.30pm for 6pm start

Venue: Above The Loft Bar & Kitchen – Wynner House (Main Bar), 143 Bromsgrove St, Birmingham, B5 6RG

How to join: Send a request email to ; or attend the Sporting Pride Conference as a delegate and you’re automatically invited!

Sports Media LGBT+ is a network, advocacy, and consultancy group that is helping to build a community of LGBTQ+ people and allies in sport. We’re also a digital publisher. Learn more about us here.

We’re interested in your news and stories. Share with us and tap into a worldwide audience through our Google News affiliate website – which pulled in over one million impressions in 2021 – and our popular social channels with over 10,000 followers. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Jon Holmes

Digital Sports Editor