How easy is it to be LGBT+ in sport?

Leading GB blind-skier John Dickinson-Lilley (Twitter: @JDLskier)

I’d ask people to question what is sport? For many the answer might be organised sport like football, but it could also mean a solo sport like cycling. Lots of sports are more inclusive and Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign helps shine a light on inclusive sport and importantly also show some of the most inclusive sports around.

I think sport is personal and for many people, getting active is the most crucial first step. That could be taking a walk, digging the bike out of the shed, doing couch to 5K or trying a park run. For disabled LGBT+ people it might be checking out some of the options on great organisations like the Activity Alliance (@AllForActivity) or We Are Undefeatable (@undefeatable on Twitter/Insta) which have some brilliant ideas for how you can get active.

Scotland and Harleqins rugby player Jade Konkel (Twitter: @JadeKonkel)

It is important to find your safe space and where you feel comfortable. Personally for me, my sporting environment and being on the pitch is a massive safe space for me. There are so many incredible teams that are extremely inclusive and I fully believe that if you take the step to find that safe space, you’ll hopefully end up with a whole new sporting family.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to others in those spaces who are part of the community, or different role models in those environments. They can hopefully point you in the right direction and offer some support.

Manchester Storm ice hockey player Zach Sullivan (Twitter: @ZachSully11)

I came out while playing ice hockey, the fastest and most physical indoor team sport in the world. Ice hockey has a stigma surrounding it that it is a very masculine sport. When I came out, I had no idea what the response would be like – whether it would be positive and applauded, or if it would be negative and I would be ostracised from the sport. Thankfully the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I think that the response I received really goes to show how far sport has come with the LGBT+ community. The family atmosphere in most team sports is contagious, and I can vouch for every team that I have played on that they would be over the moon and delighted to be trusted enough with something so personal.

The message that the Elite Ice Hockey League in the UK have continuously promoted is ‘if you can play, you can play’. I firmly believe that this is the case in the majority of sports around the world.