Sports Media LGBT+ in 2019

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…

Matthew Mitcham, Susannah Townsend and Michael Gunning speaking to panel host Beth Fisher at our #AuthenticMe event at Twitter HQ in London in October 2019

Looking for our calendar of events? Click here to skip down the page

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 info@sportsmedialgbt.com. Although we’re based in the UK, we welcome ideas from anywhere around the world. And with Rainbow Laces on its way, what better time to get in touch?

Looking for LGBT+ sports content? Check out our ‘Recommended’ page!

Our achievements

  • #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 behaviour was 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 November 2019, our Twitter followers count has passed 4,700 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.
Our #AuthenticMe events have been backed by the Sports Journalists’ Association

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.
Jack Murley, Charlie Martin, Katie Gornall, Tom Bosworth and Beth Fisher at our first #AuthenticMe event in October 2018, held at BBC Quay House in Salford

Looking for a fresh start? Check out the Jobs page on BCOMS, the Jobs and Courses page on Women In Football or @SportsMedia_UK on Twitter for all the latest vacancies

Recent articles

#AuthenticMe 2019

Rainbow Laces 2019Every 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 storiesIn 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 footballerJon 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 jon@sportsmedialgbt.com with an article idea, or to pitch your story

Dates for the diary in 2019

If you’re interested in attending an event and would like to make a connection, give us a shout!

Tue 12 to Tue 19 NovTransgender Awareness Week

Sat 16 Nov (1pm) – Sheffield Rainbow Laces Cup (Olympic Legacy Park Sheffield)

Sat 16 NovUK Equality Open – same-sex and equality dance competition organised by Out4Dance (Wimborne Minster)

Wed 20 NovTrans Day of Remembrance

Fri 22 Nov to Sun 8 Dec – Annual Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign activation

Fri 22 Nov (7pm to 9pm) – La Golda Short Film European Premiere screening (Watford FC, Vicarage Road) – read our preview here!

Sat 23 Nov to Sat 30 NovCome Out Active Week

Sat 23 Nov (11am to 2pm) – ‘Rainbow Races’ – annual London Otters Rowing Club regatta (Royal Docks, east London)

Wed 27 NovWear Your Rainbow Laces Day

Wed 27 Nov (6pm to 9pm) – ‘A Sporting Chance’ – Why Sport, Sporting Visbility and Participation Matters to the Queer Community – A Chime Q and Partners Event (Buckingham Gate, London)

Thu 28 Nov (lunchtime) – Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards (London)

Thu 28 Nov (from 6pm) – ‘LGBT+ Journeys In Sport: The Lessons We Can Learn’ – Wave network event (Google HQ, London)

Thu 28 Nov (from 6pm) – Stonewall FC’s Rainbow Laces Community Event – ‘Drinks, Drag & DJs’ (Circa The Club, London)

Fri 29 Nov (from 7pm) – LGBT Boxing (Liverpool) – fight night at Hangar 34! Read our event preview

Sun 1 DecWorld AIDS Day

Sun 8 Dec – Pansexual / Panromantic Pride Day