Bath Spa University Students’ Union sports clubs are lacing up to tackle homophobia in sport.
Although Bath Spa University is a very liberal campus, efforts still need to be made to actively engage with Bath Spa’s LGBTQ+ community.
At the beginning of this academic year I circulated an LGBTQ+ Student Experience survey to really understand the dynamics of our diverse Bath Spa community. The questions I asked were focused on the experience of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community at university and if there were any negative aspects and what the University and Union could do to improve these. A topic that arose was hyper masculinity in our sports clubs, some members of Spa’s queer community felt intimidated by the perception of lad culture that is persistent in other institutions.
I addressed this by talking directly to the Athletic Union committee which I chair and we decided to create a unified pledge to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. I wanted to focus attention on language and how powerful it can be. In the majority of cases, when people use incorrect pronouns when talking to trans people, it is because they either do not understand or are not educated on the subject rather than out of spite or maliciousness. I understand that the LGBTQ+ community will always face some adversity but if we are unified then we are stronger and can overcome any obstacles close-mindedness may bring, and by educating people we can close the gap between communities.
The survey I circulated came back with some very positive suggestions from members of the queer community but it also encountered one or two negative responses that were homophobic and aggressive. This really told me that even in the most liberal of places like a creative university there is still a point to be made about being active and continuing to fight against any kind of prejudice.
I also really wanted the clubs to make a statement so throughout LGBT History Month all clubs in the Athletic Union will be wearing Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces to show solidarity with Bath Spa’s LGBTQ+ community. What I did not want was for me to force clubs into signing the pledge or wearing the laces as that would defeat the object. All of the clubs were very enthusiastic about participating as inclusivity is something that they all hold to value; each club posed with the LGBTQ+ Rainbow flag in the hope that members of the queer community feel more comfortable around the sports teams and may even participate themselves.
If you would like to know more about what your Students’ Union and I are doing for the LGBTQ+ community at Bath Spa then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout February 2018, Ceri Jenkins (BSU Equality Projects Officer) and I are hosting an array of events to celebrate LGBT History Month ranging from ‘LGBTQ Inclusive curriculums’ to guides to being an LGBTQ+ Ally. You can find out more and book your FREE ticket to any event here: http://bit.ly/LGBTHM2018
Keep up to date on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@bathspasu) to see when your sports clubs are playing home games wearing their Rainbow laces so you can show your support too.
If you have any more questions regarding education on the topic or just want to get involved yourself then why not talk to Bath Spa LGBTQ+ Society headed up by our incredible LGBT officer Nathan.
Danny Whitebread - Vice President Activities