We’re a network for LGBT+ people and allies in sport. We’re working towards the goal of a more inclusive sports media industry, both in workplaces and in published content, and to help make sport itself more welcoming for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Network lead Jon Holmes writes… Sports Media LGBT+ is now in its second full calendar year, having been established in November 2017, so scroll down for a recap on what the network has achieved so far, what we’ve been up to in 2019, and how you can get involved…
WE NEED YOU! We want our website to be a hub for LGBT+ sports-related content, events and news. We’re actively looking for contributions and suggestions from those who want their voices to be heard – drop us a line at email@example.com. Although we’re based in the UK, we welcome ideas from anywhere around the world.
- #AuthenticMe is our annual event which brings together LGBT+ people and allies working in different roles across sport to discuss how authenticity can boost performance. Through hearing the personal testimonies of elite athletes, grassroots sports heroes, media professionals and others, we’ve been able to gain a greater understanding of LGBT+ experiences in sport, and celebrate the achievements of those who wear their pride on their sleeves. Read about our October 2019 event at Twitter HQ in central London, and the preceding event at the BBC in Manchester.
- We presented findings from an online survey, where we asked people to assess how the sports media was faring on LGBT+ inclusion. The findings (published in October / November 2018) determined that amid some promising signs of progress, it was still difficult for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people to be out at work in our industry; and that anti-LGBT language and
behaviourwas not uncommon in workplaces. At BCOMS’ #DWord3 event, we raised awareness around these problems; many people, including senior leaders, told us they had rarely if ever been addressed before in the industry. In 2019, the survey findings and the creation of the network group were also referenced in a new academic text on Sports Journalism.
- Our community of LGBT+ people and allies is growing. As of December 2019, our Twitter followers count has passed 5,000 and we have a mailing list of over 500 addresses. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and also WhatsApp (you can request access to the chat via email), sharing content and discussing all manner of related topics; we encourage connections. We have struck valued relationships with the Sports Journalists’ Association, BCOMS, Pride Sports UK, Women In Football, InterMedia UK and other organisations and network groups, and we’re always open to more partnerships and collaborations.
- Jon has given presentations and spoken on panels at several events, such as Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Summit at Wembley, LEAP Sports’ Diverse Sport conference in Glasgow, the Digital Editors Network seminar at the BBC in London, and the Pride Sports Summit in Manchester. He’s discussed Sky Sports’ ongoing work on LGBT+ inclusion; examples of good and bad practice from across the sports media industry; the aims and objectives of Sports Media LGBT+; reporting guidelines for editors and journalists; and offered advice on how best to communicate LGBT+ inclusion. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.
- On our website, we’ve profiled journalists and podcasters giving coverage to inclusion and inspiring stories from LGBT+ individuals, and featured a range of blogs and articles covering topics such as workplace culture, coming out, and visibility.
Objectives for 2019
- Build on the success of our events and activations. We want to make our ‘#AuthenticMe’ message into one that is heard across sport. Our events bring together our community of LGBT+ people and allies in sport, celebrating achievements and authenticity, and exploring the various challenges we face as individuals, as groups within the diverse LGBT+ community, and also as an industry.
- Form a Steering Committee. Are you interested in playing an active role in Sports Media LGBT+? It doesn’t require a big commitment – we’re all busy people, after all – but it could be a great addition to your CV. A committee would aim to meet at least four times a year, and would work together on content, resources, and events; whether our own, or others.
- Work with schools, colleges, universities and other establishments on inclusive LGBT+ reporting. Jon has delivered well-received presentations that identify how sensationalism, inappropriate language and terminology, and lack of context have contributed to common complaints in journalism. By drawing upon our own newsroom experience and expertise, we raise discussion points and make suggestions which will help to prevent damaging stereotypes being perpetuated, while also addressing issues of representation.
- Raise funds to help LGBT+ people in need of assistance. We do not yet have a charity partner, but we are interested in staging social events and other functions (such as quiz nights, panel debates, etc) where we could collect donations.
- Use our platforms and reach to amplify LGBT+ voices, both in sport and sports media. Networks have the power to connect people and open doors; both remain key functions for us. We offer a space for both LGBT+ people and allies in sport and sports media to discuss their experiences, either in private or in public via blog posts etc (we are Google News indexed). We’ll listen, give advice where appropriate, and aim to empower others to achieve their goals through authenticity.
Transgender Awareness Week: ‘Talk to us – and listen’ – With increased negativity towards trans people prevalent in the UK media, network member Emma Smith calls for healthier conversations…
Rainbow Laces 2019 – Every year, the Stonewall campaign to ‘make sport everyone’s game’ grows in visibility. We’re here to help you be a part of it
#AuthenticMe: Golden memories! – Our second annual event celebrating authenticity in sport took place at Twitter HQ on October 8. Here’s how it went…
Pride Youth Games: ‘Hugely rewarding’ – Chris Devine blogs on his weekend of volunteering at the annual Pride Youth Games event in Manchester
Podcasts: Gay footballers share their stories – In this LGBT sports pods episodes round-up, Andy Brennan, Liam Davis, Jay Lemonius and Gary Ginnaw discuss their experiences of playing football after coming out…
How to help a gay footballer – Jon writes about the general goodwill at the prospect of a male professional footballer coming out publicly, and how the media needs to channel that constructively
Want to get featured on our website? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with an article idea, or
Dates for the diary in 2020
If you’re interested in attending an event and would like to make a connection, give us a shout!
Wed 1 January – Football v Homophobia Awards – voting deadline
Wed 15 Jan – British Sports Journalism Awards – voting deadline
February – LGBT History Month (UK) – Theme ‘Poetry, Prose and Plays’
Feb – Football v Homophobia Month of Action
Tue 4 Feb (6.30pm) – FA LGBT History Month event (Wembley)
Fri 7 Feb – Football v Homophobia Awards event (Altrincham FC)
Mon 24 Feb – British Sports Journalism Awards (Park Plaza Westminster, London)