June is Pride Month – an opportunity to celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community and Active Allies within the Netball Family as part of our Dedicated to Difference pledge.
In netball, we want everyone to find a place to belong, flourish and soar. A place where you can retain your own personality, style and flair. A place you are cherished and appreciated for simply being you.
According to the 2021-22 Diversity and Belonging Report, 83% of the Netball Family say that their netball community is inclusive.
We pledge to promote and celebrate difference, embracing the opportunity to make our sport a possibility within everyone’s reach, ensuring netball is open to new audiences, beyond our current following, to discover the joy of belonging in netball – EN Belonging Commitment Statement
England Netball is committed to being a visible and active ally year round to help make netball an even stronger and more inclusive sport.
We’ve teamed up with our partners VERCIDA Consulting to share some tips on active allyship for the Netball Family.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As an individual or organisation, you can also show your support by pledging your commitment to our Belonging Commitment Statement.
We’ve also created an LGBT+ Inclusion Guide designed to help everyone understand the use of pronouns and the use of terminology in relation to gender identity and the LGBT+ community, and therefore be confident to use the correct language and support others within the Netball Family and beyond.
Throughout Pride Month and at the Pride in London parade on Saturday 1 July, we will be celebrating the wonderful LGBTQ+ community within our Netball Family so make sure you’re following England Netball on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Whether you’re interested in playing, coaching, officiating, volunteering or supporting, there are lots of ways you can get involved in netball. Find your nearest session here or discover more about making the game here.