LGBT Panel holds fourth meeting and looks to the future

Wed 22 Nov 2017

BSUK’s LGBT panel held its fourth meeting since its formation last May on Monday 13 November and welcomed two new members, Thomas Haywood and Lu Tolu.

At a productive meeting, the group decided to focus during the coming months on solidifying and enhancing awareness of the Panel within the baseball and softball community as well as among the general population, and making softball the go-to sport for the LGBT community around the country.

In doing this, the Panel is looking to work with other important national partners such as Stonewall and Gender Intelligence, as well as long-standing partner Pride Sport, in creating a comprehensive Inclusivity policy.

The Panel is supporting a team from Manchester that has entered the 2018 Gay Games in Paris and, with the help of BSUK’s South East Development Manager Patrick Knock, will engage with a TransPride event in Brighton next year.

Finally, the Panel is working with BSUK staff in the North West to deliver the BSUK Pride Tournament in Manchester on 16 June 2018.


Background

Softball in the UK has a long history of being a welcoming and inclusive sport for members of the LGBT community, and this is supported by a survey carried out by BaseballSoftballUK in 2016, which suggested that 14% of softball players identify as LGBT, compared to roughly 8% of the population as a whole.

LGBT players are spread throughout a playing community of more than 24,000 in cities and towns around the UK.

While BSUK’s direct work with the LGBT community has so far taken place primarily in London and Manchester, the LGBT Advisory Panel was created in May 2017 to widen the scope and reach of that work.

The purpose of the Panel is to set the strategy for BSUK’s LGBT work and to monitor and evaluate BSUK’s effectiveness in delivering the strategy.  In addition, the Panel will help to draft relevant policy and will formally engage more people from the baseball and softball communities in the development of the sports for LGBT participants.  The Panel reports to the BSUK Board.


LGBT Panel activity

BSUK’s LGBT Advisory Panel was formed and is currently chaired by Luis Arrevillagas, BSUK’s Development Manager for the North West region.

Since its first meeting in May 2017, the Panel has:

  • Run an LGBT national tournament.
     
  • Engaged with important LGBT organisations such as Pride Sport.
     
  • Interviewed players and made audio clips to share with members of the community to gather views on LGBT participation in our sports.
     
  • Worked on the design of a logo for the Panel to be shared with clubs and leagues.
     
  • Worked on a set of amended softball rules that will make the game of slowpitch softball even more inclusive.
     
  • Worked on an Inclusivity policy.
     
  • Reached out to national organisations such a Stonewall and Gender Intelligence.
     
  • Worked with BSUK on its Equality and Diversity Survey.
     


LGBT Panel members

Below are some brief statements by or about each of the Panel members:
 

Stuart Dunlop 

Since 1998, I've been a member and served on the committee of London Raiders Softball Club.  In 2002, I helped organise our Sydney Games teams.  Then, in 2006, I headed the organisation of 50 members attending the Montreal Outgames.  I've been a trained coach for the Raiders for eight years and have been the club’s main development trainer for newcomers to the sport for the past 15 years.  [Stuart has recently written a blog for the BSUK website titled “Playing with Pride”.  
 

Lyndsey Bygraves

I strive to understand and learn more about LGBT history and current issues.  I have been coaching adult softball, and part of my drive for increasing LGBT participation and inclusivity is to increase people’s confidence to be unashamedly and unapologetically themselves.
 

Katie Hall

I am a previous BSUK Board member (2008-10), with an equalities and marketing focus.  I have been an active member of London Raiders Softball Club since 2006, and have taken on many roles and responsibilities during my time at the club.  I am an active member of the London and UK LGBT community.
 

Cristian Speroni

I have played for the past five years with the London Raiders.  Having never played before joining, I have gone through the process of learning the sport from scratch as well as engaging with my wider LGBT community.  I have served on the Raiders’ committee for the past three years as the treasurer as well as getting involved in other areas such as training, social and tournaments.  I value the importance of sport within the LGBT community as a means of confidence-building, socialising and community-building.
 

Thomas Haywood

I am an international baseball umpire who is gay, with many years of experience umpiring for the BBF and in Europe, and I am an event leader for Outdoorlads, who run a range of sociable outdoor activities for gay and bisexual men right across the UK.
 

Lu Tolu

I led an LGBTQ youth organisation in Malta, I have played softball in four different UK leagues, and I curated an exhibition on the fight for LGBT rights in Britain.  For the exhibition to be successful, it needed to engage and involve LGBTQ communities in Manchester.


Want to get involved?

The LGBT Advisory Panel is open to new members and welcomes guests at its meetings. 

If you have an interest in the work of the Panel, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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