Raising money and awareness about LGBTQ mental health in sport

Kate Webb is MindOut’s Business Development Manager. She writes here about meeting some of the people who are raising money for MindOut this year.

Last Friday I got out of the office to go and meet some of the players from University of Sussex Womens Football team. 19 members of the team are running in the Vitality Half Marathon on Sunday 25th February to raise money for MindOut and I wanted to find out what motivated them to support LGBTQ mental health. I met the women after their Friday night training session and we sat down to talk inclusivity and the casual homophobia that is still directed towards women who participate in team sports. Giorgia Ashberry-Sharp who is the clubs charity representative said:

We are a close knit team and committed to inclusivity – we accept people no matter how they identify and this is really important to us – our team is really mixed with women who identify as LGBTQ as well as heterosexual. We also really want to support mental health as there isn’t anyone in the team who hasn’t had their own mental health struggles. So when choosing a charity to support this year MindOut brought both these things together.

 

I asked the other women what motivated them to support MindOut?

Within women’s football  most of the girls are supportive and inclusive but as a women only team we often get comments (from men) about being ‘lesbians’  which is pathetic but still homophobic – there is a lot of homophobia in sports and we need to promote Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign which supports LGBTQ people in sport.

We all take part in an annual  football tournament here at the university – Football versus homophobia which will take place on 21st April 2018 which is a brilliant fun event promoting acceptance. We have about 20 teams who take part many of whom are not sporty, it’s a real party atmosphere!

These women have highlighted how the world of team sports can be an alienating and hostile environment for LGBTQ people so MindOut is honoured that the University of Sussex Women’s football team is raising money for us whilst raising awareness about the need to promote acceptance and inclusivity in sport.

Please support the team via their justgiving page and thank you from all of us at MindOut.