Pride Month 2023: Netball Family talk representation, education and inclusion

England Netball is excited to take part in the Pride in London parade with members of the LGBTQ+ community and Active Allies within the Netball Family for a second consecutive year.

After the success of last year’s involvement in the parade, we want to continue our Dedicated to Difference pledge and have a visible presence in the parade to ensure that everyone is aware that netball is a place where they can belong, flourish and soar.

Essex-based teacher Sophie Revett, who returned to netball after taking a hiatus since playing at school, was one member who participated in the 2022 parade.

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Community and belonging are themes central not only to Sophie’s involvement in netball, which she describes as “welcoming, accommodating and really inclusive”, but also in the environment she wants to foster for her students.

She has established a nurture group called Proud, as a safe space for her students to discuss and celebrate all things LGBT+ inclusion and diversity, as well as setting up the school’s first Pride week.

Sophie believes sport and activism goes hand in hand, and hoped her involvement in last year’s parade could deliver a powerful message to her students.

She said: “Everyone is welcome, be who you are, love who you want, and love is love!

“From the perspective of young people, seeing people in sport doing these wonderful things and showing their support for all backgrounds and communities, I think that it promotes a sense of togetherness.

“Not just young people, but everyone. Sport is doing its bit to say that everyone is welcome, and we are going to celebrate and push for equality, diversity, and inclusion. Why not jump at the chance to be involved in that!”

Mum and daughter Clare and Charlotte Simpson are two members set to take part in the 2023 parade.

As a young woman in sport, Charlotte feels the representation the parade offers is incredibly important, as well as placing emphasis on netball being a safe and welcoming space.

“For me, representation is just everything,” she said. “With netball, you see players at international level who are openly LGBT+, it makes my heart happy!

“Because you grow up and you don’t really hear much about LGBT+ people and this can make you feel like a bit of an outsider.

“But when the sport you love gets involved in such a big way, it’s so important to make everyone feel welcome in the sport – it’s everything!”

Mum Clare agrees that representation, especially for young people in the netball community, is crucial. She places emphasis on the importance of netball in establishing a community and building a safe space for her daughter to enjoy. 

She said: “I think because it’s [netball is] so important to Charlotte, and because it feels good that there’s somewhere safe for her that is inclusive. 

“I’m just happy that what she loves includes her and makes her feel safe.”

For the pair, education is central to being an active ally to the LGBT+ community. 

Charlotte encourages members of the Netball Family to “make sure that you’re educated the best you possibly can be and support the people around you. If you hear somebody say something, make sure you educate them too.”

For Clare, being an active ally is about “standing up and being counted and standing side by side.”

England Netball is dedicated to difference, committed to being an active ally and encourage everyone within the Netball Family to do the same.

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.

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