Sports Media LGBT+ in 2019

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… As Sports Media LGBT+ enters its second full calendar year, having been established in November 2017, it’s an opportunity to recap on what the network has achieved so far, and lay out some aims for 2019.

Our #AuthenticMe event in October 2018 was hosted by BBC Sport’s Katie Gornall

A New Year is also an ideal time for each of us to consider new ventures and look at where we might channel some of our precious energies. I’m actively looking for some fresh contributions to help give the network added impetus. If any of the below interests you and you’d like to discuss further, or you’d like to submit some suggestions for projects etc, please get in touch via info@sportsmedialgbt.com. Although we’re based in the UK, we welcome ideas from anywhere around the world. Thank you.

Achievements in 2018

  • “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. Openly LGBT+ athletes Tom Bosworth and Charlie Martin shared their stories in sport with 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 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 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.
  • Our community of LGBT+ people and allies is growing. As of late December, our Twitter followers count has ticked past 2,500 and we have a mailing list of over 300 addresses. We’re on Facebook, LinkedIn and also WhatsApp (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 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.
Tom Bosworth was one of our special guest speakers at #AuthenticMe

Objectives for 2019

  • Look to 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.
BBC Jersey’s Jack Murley, Charlie Martin, Katie Gornall, Tom Bosworth and BBC Wales’ Beth Fisher at #AuthenticMe

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

Dates for the diary in 2019

February – LGBT History Month in the UK

Feb – Football v Homophobia Month

Tue 5 Feb – #StrongerTogether – Just A Ball Game? seminar event at Wembley

Mon 25 Feb – SJA British Sports Journalism Awards (London) – deadline for entries: Wed 16 Jan