Encouraging people to Play Proud

Encouraging people to Play Proud: LGBTQ+ inclusion through sport

Lessons from Street Football World and EUFA Foundation’s 12-month ‘Play Proud’ programme.

Holly Clarke, our Operations Manager in the north west of England (covering Manchester and Liverpool) took part in the 12 month Play Proud programme. During the programme coaches are taught about making sports programmes inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community.

Holly also delivers the female empowerment programme ‘Goal’ in Liverpool in collaboration with Standard Chartered and Women Win. Here are her lessons about how to promote inclusivity in sport.

Crowds at London Pride 2018 Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA 

I have learned so much from Play Proud particularly around gender inclusivity in sport. This has allowed me to feel more confident when speaking about this subject and helps to identify areas I probably did not understand before.

The journey of Play Proud has opened my eyes to the on-going stigma and prejudice around inclusivity which allows me to feel passionate about embedding equality and diversity and tasks to suit all into sessions that I deliver at Street League.

Delivering a female only programme called ‘Goal’ for people aged 14 to 19 across Liverpool provides me with the opportunity to spread awareness through fun and engaging tasks within sessions. Tasks such as, ‘The Genderbread Person’, ‘Gender and work’, ‘Girls and boys, all utilise the definition of inclusivity along with how the young people can be educated on gender inclusivity and the way it can be used positively. 

Holly delivering the 'Goal' programme in Liverpool 

I believe to run inclusive sessions, there needs to be an understanding that there has to be more than one way to facilitate a task. Therefore, inclusive tasks within inclusive sessions determine a result where the activity is fair for all and not equal for all. If a task or session focuses on being accessible to only one ability this prevents inclusivity. However, if a task allows for a range of abilities to participate by offering multiple ways of carrying out the task, this can result in successful learning for all.

During my time learning about inclusivity at Play Proud, I have touched on subjects such as, resources for LGBTQ+, Football versus Homophobia, inclusive policies within organisations, Non-binary inclusion in Sport, LGBTQ+ terminology, Coming Out in sport resources, Leadership, LGBTQ+ Youth in society, Inclusion in sport and Peer Consulting and Coaching. Each individual area of information provided me with the tools to implement more inclusive activities within my sessions that allow the young people I work with to feel safe and included.

With Play Proud being about supporting coaches like myself to make my programme and community safe, inclusive and welcomed, I felt this has been an amazing, beneficial journey to my skillset as regardless of people’s gender identity or sexual orientation, everyone feels equally individual.

Street League is also proud to support Stonewall and we believe that sport is everyone's game.

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