LGBT

BSUK logo in rainbow coloursSoftball 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 LGBT Panel

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 will engage with the Development Strategy Committee.

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

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.

 

 

 

Luis Arrevillagas

I am the Development Manager for BSUK in the North West.  I've played baseball since I was five and Softball for the last 10 years.  I live in Manchester and I'm very passionate about getting people involved in sports.  Baseball and Softball are very inclusive and they are a great tool to get everyone together having fun.  I have been the chair of the LGBT panel since its foundation and have greatly enjoyed meeting so many people in the process.

 


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.

 

 

 

Kate Densley

I am President of the University of York Softball and Baseball Club and started my softball journey two years ago when I began my studies at York. I was immediately drawn in by the inclusive nature of the club, and the sports as a whole, which is something I strive to uphold and promote during my presidency. I love welcoming new members and showing them the non-judgemental, warm and friendly atmosphere that softball and baseball offers. These sports are a great fit for the LGBT community and I hope to help increase LGBT sports participation among young people and in universities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Katie Hall

I have been playing softball for the London Raiders for over 13 years and have participated as a committee member and team captain over the years.  I love the way softball can bring together people from all walks of life, and that as a community we are striving to be inclusive.  I look forward to helping baseball and softball find creative ways to pioneer LGBTQ+ involvement in sport and share our learning with the international softball community and beyond.

 

 

Panel Work and Information To Date

  • Panel formed in May 2017, first meeting guest was Lou Englefield director of Pride Sport
  • Created BSUK LGBT website page on the BSUK website
  • Defined the BSUK LGBT Panel Ethos
  • Created Inclusive Slowpitch softball rules and linked to the LGBT page (See Resources)
  • Supported a team travelling to Paris for the Gay Games in June 2018
  • Supported the running of the annual LGBT tournaments in Manchester
  • Member's blogs on the BSUK website (Further blogs always welcome!)
  • Katie, founder member, wrote an article for Diva magazine on being a LGBT softball player
  • Connected with Stonewall and Sport England through BSUK staff to inform of the panel’s work
  • Have had 10 members of the playing community as members of the LGBT panel, including non-LGBT players.
  • We're working on a document ‘Including people who are trans and gender non-conforming in Baseball and Softball’
  • Worked with Markita from Transcan and Brighton Beachcomers Softball club to bring Softball to that part of the community.

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).

Our Ethos

Articles:

LGBT Panel looks to the future

LGBT Advisory Panel looks for visibility with the playing community

Umpiring with rubber baseballs in Xi'an, China

Funds awarded for BSUK to continue LGBT work in Manchester

Nine teams battle for LGBT Tournament trophy in Manchester

BBF umpire Thomas Haywood features on BBC LGBT Sport Podcast

Record number of teams battle at the 4th Manchester LGBT Tournament

LGBT Panel holds fourth meeting and looks to the future

LGBT groups feature in North West development work

Third Manchester LGBT tournament thrives in the rain 

LGBT Advisory Panel looks for visibility with the playing community

BSUK’s work with the LGBT community pays dividends in participation

BSUK seeking members for new LGBT Advisory Panel

Carnival atmosphere at Manchester LGBT Rookie Charity Tournament

London Raiders win Manchester LGBT Tournament

Baseball and softball proving a hit for the LGBT community

Blogs:

January 2018 - Take me out to the ball game (Katie Margaret Hall)

08 September 2019 - Playing with Pride (Stuart Dunlop)

Podcasts

BBF umpire Thomas Haywood on BBC LGBT Sport Podcast

Resources:

Inclusive Softball Rules

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