Regardless of how people identify everyone deserves to feel included. There are many things you can do to create a more inclusive organisation. Many view sports or sporting environments a safe place, a place they feel comfortable and at ease. However for others such as LGBTQ+ people it might feel they have to hide parts of themselves in fear of judgement or negative reactions. Here are some top tips on how to create a safe and inclusive space where everyone can be their authentic selves.
One way to do this is celebrating. Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact it can be as simple as displaying pride stickers around the venue or wearing pride accessories such as badges, laces, or bracelets. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, it’s a clear way to show you support and show that you are part of a supportive environment that embraces all. Emphasising support and celebrating can make people feel more comfortable and less fearful of judgement.
Another way to become a more inclusive environment is to check your organisations inclusion policies and check if they are up to date. Its good practice for an organisation to ensure there are anti bullying and anti-discrimination policies that show it won’t be tolerated. Policies that use inclusive language challenge gender stereotypes and help avoid exclusion.
It’s also important to help everyone taking part know what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable. It helps to include your companies core values and make reference to your policies about inclusion and antibullying. Putting your code of conduct on display and making it prominent will serve as a constant reminder to members of your organisation.
Additionally, play can help introduce mixed gender environments which some people might prefer. Consider setting up mixed trainings, sessions, or even tournaments where possible. It’ll be helpful to rename sessions to explicitly say ‘mixed’ if you already have mixed sessions. These things can help break down barriers and provide comfortable and inclusive opportunities for everyone.
Lastly it’s important to consider the inclusivity of your facilities. For example things like providing the options of gender neutral facilities and including sanitary bins in all toilets. If working with third party facilities you might want to collaborate with the manager to ensure gender neutral spaces are available.