‘Rainbow Ready’: Media resources on LGBT+ inclusion in sport

Sports Media LGBT+ has launched ‘Rainbow Ready’ – a new resources pack for communicating LGBT+ inclusion in sport.

The 14-page document lays out a strategy that anyone working in a comms or sports media role can adopt to help make lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel welcome and included.

In addition, a set of media guidelines is provided to assist press officers, editors and journalists in producing related content.

The resources are endorsed by three of the UK’s leading LGBT+ sports inclusion organisations – Pride Sports UK, LEAP Sports Scotland, and LGBT Sport Cymru – plus motorsport’s Racing Pride UK, and inclusion in media networks BCOMS and InterMediaUK.

The launch of the document, which is available to download for free here, followed on from Sports Media LGBT+’s #AuthenticMe event in London and workshops delivered at the Pride Sports Summit in Manchester in October.

The most recent version (summer 2022) was produced in support of Pride House Birmingham at the Commonwealth Games.


Sports Media LGBT+ lead Jon Holmes hopes ‘Rainbow Ready’ will be useful to all working in comms, whether they are new to this topic or already have experience in some aspects of LGBT+ inclusion in sport.

“February is both LGBT History Month and the Football v Homophobia campaign’s month of action,” says Holmes. “We want to offer practical support to anyone who is in a sports media or connected comms roles and who is looking for information on initiatives such as these.

“Members of our network and wider community know that there’s often an apprehension around discussing LGBT+ inclusion in sport because people are worried they might get something wrong. It can also be unclear where to start and how to proceed when you’re looking to engage people from all parts of the LGBT+ community, as well as speaking to people who aren’t LGBT+.

“The ‘Rainbow Ready’ resources will give comms officers the confidence to address these themes and a path to follow on inclusion.”

Read Jon’s comment piece on Journalism.co.uk – ‘How to report LGBT+ stories with confidence’

Lou Englefield, director of Pride Sports UK, says the new resources will be particularly helpful to those who work in comms roles in sport in helping them share news of their activities.

“The way we communicate LGBT+ inclusion can make all the difference, not only to how we talk about sport and physical activity, and showcase good practice, but also to the culture we create for our athletes and workforce,” says Englefield.

“‘Rainbow Ready’ is a vital new tool to help the sport and physical activity sector share its LGBT+ stories.”

Thirty years on from The Sun’s front-page lead on Justin Fashanu – how has the reporting of LGBT+ sports stories changed? Jon blogs for the Sports Journalists’ Association website – read here…

Hugh Torrance, executive director of LEAP Sports Scotland, believes editors, broadcasters and written journalists working for media organisations at any level will also benefit from the resources.

“There is a huge responsibility to report on LGBTIQ+ issues in sport ethically, sensitively and with humanity,” he said.

“‘Rainbow Ready’ provides excellent guidance to anyone serious about getting it right, whether that is to find the right starting point or to think a bit deeper about the issues raised.”

EXTRA! Sports Media LGBT+ has published additional guidance on how sports can mark and celebrate Pride – read here…

Michelle Daltry, the chair of LGBT Sport Cymru, added: “We are delighted to endorse and support the ‘Rainbow Ready’ guide.

“A resource like this will be invaluable for comms leads to support the development of an inclusive culture that is demonstrated through the language we use and the stories we choose to present.”

For more information on ‘Rainbow Ready’, contact us on info@sportsmedialgbt.com

UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2020 – we’ve partnered with the Diversity in Racing Steering Group to produce a sport-specific version of our resources pack, titled ‘Rainbow Ready for Racing’. Find out more about that and the new LGBT+ network for British horseracing here…

UPDATE – SUMMER 2022an updated version of Rainbow Ready was produced for Pride House Birmingham in support of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Further reading

Pride Month: Communicating LGBT+ Inclusion in Sport (June 2020)

Sports Media LGBT+ Challenging Perceptions Within Sports Journalism (Sports Gazette, 28 February 2020)

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