We’re a network for LGBT+ people and allies. 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’re 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Although we’re based in the UK, we welcome ideas from anywhere around the world. Thank you.
- “A truly wonderful and inspirational evening” – just one of the feedback comments we received after our #AuthenticMe event held at the BBC’s Salford HQ in October 2018. Out LGBT+ athletes Tom Bosworth and Charlie Martin shared their stories in
sportwith our audience via engaging presentations, describing how being true to themselves had helped boost their performance. Both still have targets to achieve in 2019 and beyond, and will strive to do so being out and proud. We will cheer for them, and for all who are champions for inclusion in sport.
- 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 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.
- Our community of LGBT+ people and allies is growing. As of July 2019, our Twitter followers count has passed 3,800 and we have a mailing list of over 450 addresses. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and also WhatsApp (you can request access 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, 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, and a Digital Editors Network seminar at the BBC in London. 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+; and reporting guidelines for editors and journalists.
- 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
- Hold an event in London in October. This will be a follow-up to our 2018 event ‘#AuthenticMe’ and is currently scheduled for the evening of Tuesday 8 October at a central London venue. The event will 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. Contact us to learn more, and to get involved.
- 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.
Podcasts: Gay footballers share their stories – In our latest 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
Famous names to turn out for ‘Football United’ match – Whitehawk FC to host “a celebration of togetherness” on August 4, the Sunday of Brighton Pride weekend
IDAHOT, and Homophobia: Sports and thoughts – Four out gay sports journalists describe the effects of homophobia, and what the sports media industry can learn
Podcasts: Rachel McKinnon, Tadd Fujikawa, Charlton Invicta – Don’t miss these conversations from episodes of Level Playing Field, Same Team, and The Gay Footballer’s Podcast
Lesbian Visibility Day: Sports and thoughts – Six women working in sports media share their takes on the awareness day, role models, and the advice they would give their younger selves
Podcasts: John Amaechi, Joe Johnson and more on being LGBT+ in sport – a round-up of choice cuts from Level Playing Field, The Gay Footballer’s Podcast, Same Team, and Homo Sapiens…
Tom Bosworth: Coming out opened so many doors – the Olympic race walker chats to the Level Playing Field Podcast
Ryan Atkin: I’ve benefitted from being true to myself – the football referee is the guest on episode two of Adam McCabe’s Gay Footballer’s Podcast
Want to get featured on our website? You can email email@example.com with an article idea, or
Dates for the diary in 2019
Fri 19 to Sun 21 July – LGBT International Powerlifting Championships (Blackpool)
Sat 20 July – Northern Pride (Newcastle)
Sat 20 July – Mardi Gla Pride (Glasgow)
Sat 27 July – Pride in Liverpool
Sat 27 July – Sheffield Pride
Sun 28 July – Charlton Invicta summer tournament (New Eltham, London)
Thu 1 to Sat 24 August (various dates & times) – ‘Romeo & Juliet’ rugby-themed re-imagining – production by Curious Pheasant Theatre – recommended! (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh)
Sat 3 Aug – Brighton Pride
Sat 3 Aug – Belfast Pride
Sat 3 to Sun 4 Aug – ‘Jumpers for Goalposts’ football culture Festival (London)
Sun 4 Aug (from 12.30pm) – ‘Football United – A Celebration of Togetherness’ match (Whitehawk FC, Brighton) – read more in our article here!
Sun 4 Aug – Leeds Pride
Sat 10 Aug – Plymouth Pride
Sat 17 Aug – Glasgow Pride
Sat 24 Aug – Manchester Pride
Sat 24 Aug – Pride Cymru (Cardiff)
Mon 26 Aug (from 1.30pm) – RVT Sports Day (Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London)
Fri 6 to Sat 7 September – Pride in Football‘s #CALLITOUT19 (London)
Fri 20 Sep to Sat 2 Nov – Rugby World Cup (Japan)
Mon 23 Sep – Bi Visibility Day
Mon 23 to Sun 29 Sep – National Inclusion Week
Fri 27 Sep to Sun 6 October – World Athletics Championships (Doha)
Fri 4 to Sun 6 Oct – International Gay Rugby’s #PrideInRugby weekend
Tue 8 Oct – Sports Media LGBT+ event (London)
Thu 10 Oct – Pride Sports Summit (Manchester)
Thu 10 Oct – Courage: Fundraising for AKT (Clapham, London) – Pride Boxing event
Fri 11 Oct – National Coming Out Day
Thu 17 Oct – Spirit Day
Sat 26 Oct – Intersex Awareness Day
Wed 20 Nov – Trans Day of Remembrance
Nov / December (tbc) – Rainbow Laces campaign activation
Sun 1 Dec – World AIDS Day
Sun 8 Dec – Pansexual / Panromantic Pride Day