Sports Media LGBT+ in 2020

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to our website, or just checking back in – thanks for stopping by. Read on to learn about what we can offer you, our achievements to date, and more…

Who we are…

  • A network group for LGBT+ people and allies across sport, with a focus on sharing empowering stories through the power of journalism and media
  • An advocacy group that fights for LGBT+ inclusion in sport, the sports media industry and other relevant sectors
  • A consultancy consisting of experienced sports media professionals who advise on communications and media strategy, and who can help achieve fair and accurate coverage for LGBT+ people in sport
The ‘Out, And The Olympics’ panel session at #AuthenticMe at Twitter UK in October 2019

What we do…

  • Assist in providing platforms for LGBT+ people and allies in both sport and sports media to reach new audiences and connect with the wider community, through media coverage, events, chat groups and social media: Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook | Follow on Instagram
  • Encourage discussion around LGBT+ visibility and representation in sport through our #AuthenticMe initiative, which invites athletes, coaches, administrators, and others to share their experiences of being truly authentic and how this affects their performance
  • Produce tailored resources and workshops on communicating LGBT+ inclusion in sport, to assist fellow professionals, students, and those in other media, comms and PR roles in navigating language, tone, presentation etc

What we’ve achieved…

  • Built a network – a social media audience of 8,000+; a mailing list of 750+; a core group of 40+ working in sports media, comms, PR, LGBT+ inclusion and associated roles; partnered with a wide range of industry bodies, groups and organisations who share our values

New visitor? Connect with us here, or email info@sportsmedialgbt.com

  • Generated positive media coverage for individuals and organisations on major platforms such as Sky Sports and BBC Sport, and on publications at a national and regional level
  • Hosted #Authentic Me events at Twitter UK in London (2019) and BBC Sport in Manchester (2018), supported by major industry bodies, featuring panels of speakers including Olympic athletes, broadcasters, grassroots heroes and other personalities – all LGBT+ people and allies in sport – discussing their experiences to help empower others
  • Delivered workshops and webinars in conjunction with Pride Sports and the Sport and Recreation Alliance to those looking to learn more about LGBT+ inclusion in sport – check out our Rainbow Ready pack and our special Pride Month follow-up
Our #AuthenticMe events bring together LGBT+ people and allies across sport

Recent examples of our work…

A range of Pride Month content on our own website through the ‘My Pride in Sport’ series of interviews, and from our network members on their own platforms and publications (June and July 2020)

Read: Thomas Beattie interview: ‘Football distracted me from accepting I’m gay’ (Sky Sports, June 2020)

Supporting Lesbian Visibility Week with content on our own website and on Sky Sports (April 2020)

Read: Jo Currie: Lesbian visibility matters in sports media (24 April); ‘Lesbian visibility in football often means blurred lines’ (22 April)

Read: ‘What I’d tell my younger self about sexuality’ (Sky Sports, 26 April 2020); Features – elite swimming coach Emma Collings-Barnes; Chelsea and England footballer Anita Asante and her girlfriend, broadcaster and network member Beth Fisher; Sport and Recreation Alliance CEO Lisa Wainwright; Olympic hockey medallist Sally Walton; lacrosse international Erin Walters-Williams; sprinter Corinne Humphreys; W Series racing driver Sarah Moore; world boxing champion Terri Harper and her fiancee Jenna Hayden

Assisting with the launch of UK Athletics’ new Athletics Pride Network (April 2020)

Read: ‘LGBT+ coaches welcome new Athletics Pride Network’ (Sky Sports, 3 April 2020); ‘How coming out as gay helped up-and-coming British hurdler’: a first-person story from Ethan Akanni (Sky Sports, 17 April 2020)

Supporting new company Education Through Sport and Diversity, set up by boxing promoter Kellie Maloney and colleagues (March 2020)

Read: ‘Want to be a promoter? Kellie’s got the know-how’ (Sky Sports, 31 March 2020)

Presenting on our new ‘Rainbow Ready’ resources to sports journalism students at St Mary’s University, Twickenham (February 2020)

Read: ‘Sports Media LGBT+ challenging perceptions within sports journalism’ (Sports Gazette, 28 February 2020)

Sky Sports and Rainbow Laces

Sports Media LGBT+’s founder and network lead, Jon Holmes, is the Senior Home Page Editor at Sky Sports, where he helps to co-ordinate the media company’s support for Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign which seeks to make sport more LGBT+-inclusive and welcoming for all. See Sky Sports’ Rainbow Laces content here.

Through his journalism, Jon provides opportunities for LGBT+ people and allies in sport to collaborate with him on content creation. By doing so, they are able to inspire and empower others by sharing their stories and projects with a large audience. Recent examples include:

‘Lions recruit Romans! Why Millwall signed an LGBT+ team’ – feature on Millwall Romans FC following their partnership with the Millwall Community Trust (July 2020)

‘How Jess Fishlock unlocked her ‘secret superpower’ – exclusive with the Wales legend following the release of her short documentary film and support for the LaGolda animation (July 2020)

‘Riding the wave: How cycling is celebrating Pride’ – feature on #OurPrideRide, an initiative backed by Cycling UK and the group PRiDE OUT (June 2020)

‘Could this Corrie character change the game?– Coronation Street actor Nathan Graham and The FA’s Jay Lemonius on the groundbreaking soap storyline (May 2020)

‘On our side: Being trans, being a team-mate’ – stories from footballers, fans and match officials in Football v Transphobia’s Week of Action (March 2020)

‘So many Asian kids don’t see themselves in sport’ – interview with Stonewall Sport Champion Amazin LeThi and grassroots athletes from the Out For Sport family of clubs to mark LGBT History Month (February 2020)

Acceptance and abuse: Maxine Blythin’s story’ – the Kent Women cricketer’s first in-depth interview, which accompanied a TV interview with Sportswomen on Sky Sports News (November 2019)

Jon worked exclusively with the football referee Ryan Atkin on his ‘coming out’ story in August 2017, and has interviewed many other LGBT+ people in sport including Olympic gold medalists Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, international swimmer Michael Gunning, darts referee Huw Ware, and amateur athletes. See his full portfolio here – you can contact Jon directly, and in confidence, at jon@sportsmedialgbt.com.

More 2019 highlights…

A few extra ‘best bits’ from the last 12 months or so…

We helped launch and establish LGBT+ motorsport network Racing Pride UK; promoted Goaldiggers FC’s ‘The Festival of Football’; delivered a workshop on ‘Communicating LGBT+ Inclusion’ at the Pride Sports Summit in Manchester, and helped out at the Pride Youth Games; discussed ‘The Gay Footballer’ and how the media needs to be more responsible in its reporting; contributed to new academic text ‘Sports Journalism: The State of Play’; hosted panel discussions and conversations at Football v Homophobia’s 20th anniversary event, Outsports Pride in Los Angeles, and the annual Hill & Knowlton creativity symposium at the British Library. And that’s not all we did…

Reach out and talk to us about your plans and projects for 2020!

Sports Media LGBT+’s 2020 achievements and objectives

  • February: Release ‘Rainbow Ready’ – our first published resources, backed by leading sports inclusion organisations. A media strategy and guidelines document on communicating LGBT+ inclusion in sport, designed to help anyone working in a media, comms or PR capacity – we did it! Check out the resources here!
  • February: Host a quiz night in central London on a midweek evening to mark LGBT History Month in the UK, raising money for one or more LGBT+ specific charities – we did it! £888 raised for Diversity Role Models
  • March: Responding to the coronavirus pandemic by supporting LGBT+ people and allies, particularly freelancers and the self-employed – read more
  • March: Amplifying voices of trans and non-binary people in football, for the Football v Transphobia Week of Action – read more
  • Ongoing: Working with our friends at LaGolda on supporting the ‘Accept and Respect Campaign’ and taking the inclusive education message of short film ‘Game Changer’ to new audiences

Dates for the diary in 2020

Want to see your event listed here? Interested in attending an event and keen to make a connection? Whatever your query, give us a shout!

Thu 26 Nov to Sun 13 DecRainbow Laces 2020 – annual activation of Stonewall campaign

Tue 1 DecemberWorld AIDS Day

Wed 9 DecRainbow Laces Day

Sat 12 DecImaanFest – Muslim Pride (London)

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