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SCAN spoke to LUSU LGBTQ+ Officer, Jess Phoenix, about the Out in Sport campaign that coloured this year’s Roses rainbow.
What was the “Out in Sport Campaign?”
“This year for Roses 2017 the LGBTQ+ association and the LGBT+ staff network decided to again run the Out in Sport campaign that has previously proven to be a success to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ+ people in sport.”
Why is this kind of campaign is important?
“University is the time in which many students become increasingly involved in sport, though previous research conducted by the NUS into LGBT participation in sporting events has found that for students in the LGBTQ+ community, there are several barriers that prevent them from getting involved.”
“These include feelings that the sport culture is alienating and unwelcoming, previous negative experiences in school events, gendered activities and sportswear, exclusive changing facilities and experiences of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Out in Sport is therefore a campaign that seeks to publicly promote support for LGBTQ+ competitors and represent an inclusive and non-discriminatory environment.”
What did you decide to do to highlight these issues at this year’s Roses?
“For this year’s campaign, rainbow shoelaces were given out to 250 of our Lancaster competitors to be worn throughout the Roses event. As many of our teams as possible were contacted and those that responded were really excited and supportive of the idea.”
“The teams that were involved and showed their support through wearing the laces whilst competing were basketball, rugby union, hockey, netball, lacrosse, hockey, fencing, tennis, pool and darts.”
What was the best part of the campaign?
“Whilst there were a lot of great moments over the weekend, I think some of my favourites would have to be having the basketball team wearing the laces for the opening ceremony and the men’s rugby 1st team wearing them in the closing ceremony, these were two of the biggest events so it was great to have support for the campaign here and for as many people to be reached as possible!”
“Although, the highlight was definitely from the men’s pool team with one of our competitor’s playing their game with rainbow laces and multi-coloured flashing trainers, they looked fab.”
Were there any problems with the campaign?
“Overall the laces were really well received and the teams were really excited, the only downside was that the laces ran out so quickly and more teams and supporters would have liked to get involved!”
What will “Out in Sport” look like next year?
“Based on the great support and enthusiasm for the rainbow shoelaces and the campaign as a whole, I am hoping that this is something that will continue in future Roses events and potentially other sporting events across campus.”
“Next year we have a home Roses and I would like the campaign to be much bigger, with more information on LGBTQ+ inclusion in support, even more rainbow shoelaces and maybe other accessories. Rainbow shoes for everyone.”
“I would like to finally thank everyone that got involved, it was great to see so much support. Some of the photos can be found on the LGBTQ+ association Twitter page @LancasterLGBTQ.”