We may be at the end of Pride Month, but you can be a great LGBTQ+ ally year round. England Netball have teamed up with our partners VERCIDA Consulting to share some tips on active allyship for the Netball Family.
What is an LGBTQ+ Ally?
Stonewall define an ally as:
a (typically) straight and/or who supports members of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning or Queer) community.
If you agree in equality and fair treatment in society for members of the LGBTQ+ community, then you are already an ally.
To be an active ally, you should be willing to listen and learn about the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people, be consistent in your support of LGBTQ+ rights, show solidarity with the community, as well as defend LGBTQ+ people against discrimination. It takes all members of society to create an accepting and respectful environment, and your open and consistent support will hopefully lead as an example to others.
Be open, learn and listen
One of the most important things you can do to be supportive of the LGBTQ+ community is to develop a real understanding of the lived experiences still being faced by people today. Be open and willing to listen and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, their history and terminology. Most importantly, be kind!
Never assume! For example, it can be damaging to assume that your teammates are in a heterosexual relationship. It is unnecessary to ask if someone has a boyfriend or girlfriend when you can simply ask if they have a partner. It can then be up to the individual to share as much as they feel comfortable with. It is equally important to never push; identities are personal, and it should always be left to the individual to share what they want to share about their own lives.
Challenge anti-LGBTQ+ language
As an ally, it is important to actively stand up against anti-LGBTQ+ language and behaviour. If you hear an inappropriate ‘joke’ or comment being made, challenge it by explaining why it is unacceptable. Hurtful comments made at the expense of other people should never be tolerated. They can do so much damage to a person’s confidence and identity, as well as contribute to unhelpful stereotypes.
Help to amplify the most marginalised voices in the community
To be an ally to LGBTQ+ people, you must be an ally to all LGBTQ+ people: this includes LGBTQ+ people from minority ethnic communities, trans and non-binary people, and disabled LGBTQ+ people, whose voices are not heard as often.
Think about how you are making room for these voices when you are thinking about LGBTQ+ inclusion.
It’s important that you are visible. We still live in a world where it is not yet safe for LGBTQ+ people to come out and be their authentic selves. Homophobia and transphobia are still far too common.
By being a visible ally, you reassure the LGBTQ+ people around you that they are in a safe space to be themselves. This could be achieved by wearing a rainbow lanyard or by sharing resources on your social media as an example.
Being a visible ally means different things to different people, but it’s important however you choose to do it.
Netball should be a place where everybody feels welcome and able to be themselves. By being a visible and active ally, you will be helping make netball an even stronger and more inclusive sport.