Friday, December 7, 2012

‘Out In Sport’ Cardiff by Jack Oakley and Cari Davies

“Out In Sport” at Cardiff began as a small, grassroots campaign by members of the student unions’ LGBT+ association during the last academic year. The aim of the campaign was to promote an inclusive sporting environment for LGB students and also to change the common perception that sports clubs are homophobic. At Cardiff, we believe that the problem isn’t that those taking part in sport are homophobic; the problem is a perception that they are, creating a barrier for LGB students who would otherwise participate. 

The campaign involved meeting with and talking to the various sports clubs at Cardiff University, raising awareness and also offering guidance where necessary. We created a video which allowed clubs to demonstrate their support for the campaign and their inclusion of all students, regardless of sexual orientation. We also worked with LGBT+ students, encouraging those who may otherwise be put off from taking part to attend LGBT+ only sport taster sessions. It allowed these students to try something new, in an environment they felt comfortable in. Many students went on to continue taking part in the sports they tried and by getting sports clubs involved in running the taster sessions, the fears of homophobic attitudes of were abated.

This year the Out in Sport campaign is set to grow even bigger with a strong partnership between the Athletic Union and the LGBT+ Officer at Cardiff University Students’ Union. We’ve already included LGBT+ awareness in compulsory sports club committee training and clubs have approached us looking for ways they can improve their own provision, with some asking for extra training on the subject.

We’re going to use both the reports from the National Union of Students and Sport Wales to shape our campaign and build a detailed action plan for the future; continuing the work from the previous year, increasing awareness on campus and getting more clubs involved.

There are some exciting plans for the campaign, including tying it into the huge event that is The Welsh Varsity, a day of competitive sport between Cardiff and Swansea University culminating in a televised rugby match in the Millennium Stadium. There will be an “Out in Sport” logo design competition, the winner’s design being printed on all supporter t-shirts and on the rugby shirts of the players from both Cardiff and Swansea. A new campaign video with input from our sports clubs will play before the game and we may even have a very special guest speaker!

One of our long term plans is building an accreditation scheme approved by the likes of Stonewall and Sport Wales, which sports clubs at Cardiff University (and perhaps beyond!) can be awarded. A club would have to meet certain criteria in order to be awarded the accreditation, including attending certain training events, being involved in raising awareness of the campaign and adopting and implementing a no tolerance policy. Not only educating those involved but also allowing LGB students to easily identify sports clubs that have actively championed a friendly and inclusive environment.
Jack Oakley LGBT+ Officer Cardiff University Students’ Union 

Cari Davies Athletic Union President Cardiff University Students’ Union