Posted on 1st March 2022
LGBT+ History Month runs every February and aims to promote equality and diversity through visibility, awareness and education. Promoting inclusivity within your club will benefit everyone and by creating an environment that is accepting and open to everyone, your club is increasing opportunities for people to get involved in the sport we love.
“Being inclusive welcomes a wider group of people who know they’re going to be looked after in the club, are not going to be discriminated against and can just be themselves. That just helps attract more people to the sport” – Ciara Torrance.
Over the past four weeks we have been focusing on the ways clubs can ensure they are inclusive to LGBTIQ+ players:
Be welcoming: Making your commitment to welcoming people from the LGBTIQ+ community clear and visible is an incredibly important step in being an LGBTIQ+ inclusive club. Ensure your club has defined their values and communicated these on their website and social media. Something as simple as putting a rainbow flag on your website acts as a symbol to LGBTIQ+ players that your club is going to be a safe space.
“If clubs can show that little signifier of openness, it goes such a long way to make the athletes and any prospective athletes know that they are welcome and don’t have to hide that part of themselves” agrees Kirsty Gilmour.
Support: Supporting events and initiatives such as Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign is a great way to put your commitment into action and can show people outwith your club that you are welcoming of those from the LGBTIQ+ community. Download Stonewall’s Sports Toolkit to learn more about why your club should be more inclusive and how to do this.
On the importance of the rainbow laces campaign in making her feel accepted within the sport, Ciara said “at the senior nationals they were doing the rainbow laces and that was the first time I’d seen advocacy within the sport”
“I wasn’t out or anything at that point but seeing that there was that support, although I couldn’t outwardly say it, made me really happy that I could be comfortable coming through a sport that was more inclusive”
Educate your club: Ensuring your coaches, volunteers and club members are aware of your commitment to supporting LGBTIQ+ players, and supporting them in their education is hugely important – having everyone on the same page makes your club a safe space for everyone, at all times. If you feel unsure in how to support your club in their education, reach out and ask for help. There are lots of fantastic organisations who provide inclusivity training and resources to those who need a helping hand. LEAP Sports Scotland work for greater inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in sport and run club development workshops, training sessions, events and activities throughout the year.
Challenge: Challenging offensive behaviour and language aimed at LGBTIQ+ people is vital for ensuring your club remains a safe space for everyone. It is also important to consider whether something you say or do could be exclusionary – challenge your current policies to make sure they are fit for purpose and enforce your codes of conduct.
Sessions: Having mixed gender sessions can make it easier for people to engage with badminton and feel included. Many badminton sessions are already mixed but it can be a good idea to name them as such. Consider the language you’re using during your sessions: gendered language can be exclusionary so make sure to use inclusive language at all times.
Values: Solidifying your club’s values and putting these on prominent display clearly communicates what you stand for and ensures that the people coming into your club are willing to promote a culture of acceptance. Check out Glenearn Badminton Club’s ‘Core Values’ for an example of how to promote a culture of acceptance through your club’s values.
“If it helps one person go ‘oh actually that badminton club seems like it would be a good nice place to be’ then you’ve helped one person. And that rainbow flag or that lgbt night or session could be the deciding factor of whether that person gets into badminton or stays with badminton so why wouldn’t you do that?” Kirsty Gilmour
Be confident: Be confident that you are going in the right direction and opening our sport up to more people! Celebrate LGBTIQ+ inclusion both within your club and in the wider community and break down those barriers – BADMINTON IS FOR EVERYONE.
Thank you to Glenearn Badminton Club for working with us and providing examples of how they reach out to the LGBTIQ+ community.