With many sports and activities beginning to return after lockdown, now is a fantastic time for governing bodies, clubs and organisations to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion.
There are many projects out there that are successfully delivering more opportunities for LGBT+ people – and one organisation helping sport and recreation become more inclusive is BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK).
According to a survey carried out by BSUK in 2016, 14% of all softball players identify as LGBT+ in the UK, compared to around 8% of the population as a whole.
The sports have a long and rich history of being welcoming and supportive, with LGBT+ players spread across a playing community of more than 26,000 in the UK.
A large part of BSUK’s recent success in engaging more members of the community has been down to the introduction of the LGBT Advisory Panel.
Formed in 2017, the all-volunteer Panel helps to create, guide and improve BSUK’s dedication to inclusion and diversity.
It was created in order to widen the scope and reach of BSUK’s work, which previously had been focused on the London area.
Some of its notable achievements include:
- Defined the BSUK LGBT Panel Ethos
- Created Inclusive slowpitch softball rules
Rules and language from the standard Softball Rulebook have been revised to help members of the LGBT+ community feel even more welcome within the sport.
BSUK recognise that trans players can identify anywhere along the gender spectrum and have adjusted rules on softball size, walks, batting line-up and fielding positions accordingly.
More information on the Inclusive Softball Rules Guidance.
- Supported a team travelling to Paris for the Gay Games in June 2018
In 2018, over 800 people from the UK made the short trip across the Channel to the French capital for the Gay Games. Among these individuals was a strong team of softball enthusiasts from the LGBT+ community who had been given the chance to participate in their much-loved sport on a world stage thanks to BSUK.
- Supported the running of the annual LGBT tournaments in Manchester
Every year, BSUK hold an annual Manchester LGBT Softball Tournament where teams are able to enjoy a fun day of softball while also raising money for Pride Youth Games, a sporting event for LGBTQ+ young people.
The event is now hugely popular and has doubled in size since its inception five years ago.
Feeling inspired? Here’s how you can get involved:
The Panel is open to new members and welcomes guests at its meetings.
If you have an interest in joining the panel, please email info@BSUK.com