Tuesday 22nd February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a spotlight on student clubs that would like to share their work

40 footballers on pitch smiling to camera, half standing and half kneeling in front of them

Kristina from the University of Edinburgh Women’s Football Club, got in touch with our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh to highlight the work the club is doing to ensure their current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

Hello Kristina, thanks for reaching out. How has the start of the semester been for the club?

Everyone at Edinburgh University Women’s Association Football Club (EUWAFC) has been happy to have the chance this year to get back together on the pitch and play in matches after a year of social distancing. Each of our four teams – ranging from our first team in the Northern Prem to our newly competitive fourth team in Scottish 3A – has featured several new faces and grown as groups showing great cohesion, strength, and resilience this past semester. Our recreational program also saw a surge in participation demonstrating the increasing interest in football across our community. These remain tough and uncertain times for student sports clubs but EUWAFC has taken every challenge head-on thus far and will continue to do so this semester.

What steps are you taking as a club to make your sport more welcoming to and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

EUWAFC has a strong history of commitment to LGBTIQ+ inclusion and as the club’s first Inclusion Officer in recent history, I’ve aimed to maintain our efforts and build on past progress this year. Both on and off the pitch, EUWAFC strives to offer a welcoming and inclusive environment for players of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. This year we’ve worked closely with our Sports Union to ensure the fullest participation as possible for our transgender and non-binary members and still aim to do more work on this front to help with participation in competitive games. We also have previously reformed our Club Constitution to use gender-neutral language and currently, we encourage the sharing of pronouns by our Club Committee and members during introductions and on their social media. Additionally, we run awareness campaigns on our social media (@EUWAFC) throughout the year. Back in December, we participated in Stonewall UK’s ‘Rainbow Laces Day.’ Donning the ‘Rainbow Laces’ was a small way to symbolize our Club’s dedication to LGBTIQ+ inclusion in football, and in line with the campaign’s motto of “Lace-Up and Speak Up,” we used our Instagram to raise awareness of and take a stand against LGBTIQ+ discrimination in sport.

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month? 

It’s important to celebrate awareness and visibility dates such as LGBT+ History Month because these occasions give recognition to the progress gained by affected communities while also raising awareness of the continued challenges faced by them. LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport has grown in recent years but barriers and inequities to full participation remain, which need to be addressed. We at EUWAFC acknowledge our ability to be an advocacy platform and change agent in football and Scottish student sport. For example, during this year’s LGBT+ History Month, we are participating in Football v Homophobia’s (FvH) ‘Month of Action.’ As part of this campaign, we will host an inter-university tournament with the University College London (UCL) and the University of Glasgow in honor of FvH, make a club pledge toward further inclusion actions (e.g., formal development of an equity policy and trans inclusion policy), and report on these actions as well as promote awareness using our social media platforms. Through these actions, we both celebrate the LGBT+ community and work to demand better for them.

What would you say to an LGBTIQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?four square photos with four different team pictures

I would say that it is understandable to be worried about joining any new group but reassure them that EUWAFC truly welcomes everyone. Whether you are just trying out football for the first time or this beautiful game has been your forever passion, you can have a place in our club. EUWAFC – its Committee, coaches, and members – will be there for you and is committed to taking active steps to make you feel as safe and included as possible.

Thank you to EUWAFC for sharing their development journey with us. This is the last of our student spotlight stories for LGBTQ+ History but look forward to continuing to shine a spotlight on the membership.

To assist us in our journey to make student sport even more inclusive, complete and share our equality survey.

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Tuesday 15th February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a spotlight on student clubs that would like to share their work.

team picture

Oscar from the University of Aberdeen Boxing Club, got in touch with our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh to highlight the work the club is doing to ensure their current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

Hello Oscar, thank you for reaching out to SSS. How has the return to boxing been for the club?

After the last year, going back to the new normality took us more organisation than we expected. The University of Aberdeen released a number of guidelines to assure a safe return, which helped us set up a COVID-safe environment. Since the start of the course, we are asking for at least one negative covid test, and we keep a record of the members who attend training. These protocols have allowed us to start organising socials including a big boxing show, that allows members to get to know each other.

Can you tell us what steps the club is taking to make boxing more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

By making it clear that this is a place for everyone. We do not discriminate or judge. As an example, in our latest social, we provided tags where members can write down their pronouns.

team social playing pool

Why do you think it is important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month?

I think it is incredibly important in a sport like boxing, riddled with toxic masculinity and prejudice, to celebrate and make everybody aware of months such as LGBT History Month. Many people in the past, who may have been boxers, were too afraid to express themselves and be their true selves.

What would you like to say to an LGBTQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?

It is hard to venture into a new sport, club, or environment, not knowing if people are going to like you or judge you. I would tell them that in our club, we welcome everybody, and finally, if they have any worries or doubts we have an equity officer who is there to help.

Thank you to AUBC for sharing their development journey with us and we look forward to sharing stories over LGBTQ+ History Month.

To assist us in our journey to make student sport even more inclusive, complete and share our equality survey.

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Monday 7th February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a light on student clubs that would like to share their work.

12 club members gathered in a semi circle

Ryan from Glasgow Caledonian University Fencing Club, got in touch with our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh to highlight the work the club is doing to ensure their current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

Hello Ryan, thank you for reaching out to SSS. How has the return to fencing been for the club?

Navigating the intricacies of compliance and trying to ensure the safety of our members has taken a serious amount of thought and effort on our part. That’s being said, we are super happy that we could get back into the swing of things and easily worked off the lockdown rust we had built up. Our members came back with amazing enthusiasm for the sport and we have picked up some new members who’ve shown that same love and appreciation for fencing. We are ready to put the last few years behind us and build up our club to new highs.

Can you tell us what steps the club is taking to make fencing more welcoming to and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

We try to make our sport more inclusive and welcoming to all students by being champions of inclusion in fencing. We always take the opportunity to engage with relevant campaigns and create a supportive community in the club where all individuals are welcome and members are actively trying to promote equality in everything we do.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month?

It is important to pause for recognition of the unique challenges faced by those in the LGBTIQ+ community and for all of us to play our part in supporting and championing LGBTIQ+ causes.

“We are ready to put the last few years behind us and build up our club to new highs”

What would you like to say to an LGBTQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?

Come along! We do our absolute best to accommodate everyone and we provide an inviting and non-judgemental environment. If you do have any concerns feel free to contact our committee, we will do our best to answer any concerns or tackle any issues you might have before you come along on the day.

Thank you to EUBC for sharing their development journey with us and we look forward to sharing other stories over LGBTQ+ History Month.

 

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Tuesday 1st February 2022

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, we are shining a spotlight on student clubs that would like to share their work.

Rebecca, from the University of Edinburgh’s Badminton Club, reached out to our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator Eilidh, to highlight the work EUBC is doing to ensure current and future LGBTQ+ members know they are welcome.

 

Hello Rebecca, thank you for reaching out to SSS. How has the start of the semester been for the club?

Hi there, the semester has started off really well! We’ve just reached a milestone of 300 members – I believe our highest number to date – and we’ve seen the restart of ‘Lothian League’ after a long covid-hiatus which means more match opportunities for our team players. Lots ahead!

Can you tell us what steps the club is taking to make badminton more welcoming to and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ students?

EUBC is trying to make it clear that ALL athletes are welcome in the badminton community and we have a zero-tolerance policy in our club for members who discriminate. We do our utmost to facilitate members joining the competitive team which best reflects their gender identity. We ensure there is no ‘policing’ – people aren’t asked if they are in the ‘right’ group, or if they are using the ‘right’ changing rooms/toilets at our sessions.

AT EUBC, we’ve recently changed the language we use when describing teams. Now, instead of “men” or “women”, we use the terms “men’s team players” and “women’s team players”. This small change will hopefully make our sessions more inclusive. We encourage our members to introduce themselves with their pronouns and to call people by their names until they know what to use. Our current goal is to develop our stance in regard to players who may not conform to the gender division of competitive play. We’ve engaged in communication with the institutions who organise these matches, such as BUCS, to see what we can achieve together. 

“You are absolutely welcome regardless of your sexual or gender identity and you’ll see members wearing rainbow shoelaces for support.”

Why do you think it is important to celebrate awareness dates such as LGBTQ+ History Month?

It’s absolutely paramount to celebrate these dates as a sports community because it acts as a strong statement of our values. It’s an opportunity to remind queer people that they are welcome, celebrated, and to combat heterosexist normality and internal prejudices.

 

What would you say to an LGBTIQ+ student who would like to join your club but is worried about how they may be received?

We’re one of the largest badminton clubs in the country and there’s a community of our members who are also LGBTIQ+. We look after each other and would love to have you! If you have any worries, we have an active and friendly committee that would help you settle in and make friends!

“As a queer member of EUBC, I’ve always felt accepted at club sessions, socials, training, and as a team captain. You are absolutely welcome regardless of your sexual or gender identity and you’ll see members wearing rainbow shoelaces for support. On top of that, the recent steps towards increasing inclusion of trans and non-binary people are a great example of EUBC’s development and make me feel seen and respected.” – Barbara, 2nds team captain.

I’ve found the badminton club a very queer-friendly group and have never heard of any contrary experiences. Plus, there is a great representation of LGBT+ in our leadership which helps us protect and promote these issues!” – Yiling, Vice-President.

Thank you to EUBC for sharing their development journey with us and we look forward to sharing other stories over LGBTQ+ History Month.

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Wednesday 26th January 2022

February is LGBTQ+ History Month, help us celebrate the great work of the membership!

SSS logo with LGBTQ+ colours

In the words of our LGBTQ+ Lead Carolina, “every month we focus on supporting the inclusion of LGBTQ+ sporting participants across Scotland”, now it is time to shine a spotlight on that work. This LGBTQ+ History Month, you can help SSS celebrate the great work of the membership alongside your student clubs, unions, and facilities.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

Student Club Spotlight

During the month, SSS is going to share at least one spotlight story each week from across the country that is doing good work within their club by creating a safe & inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people – Do you have any clubs in mind? If so, please email your interest to Eilidh before Monday 14th February to be featured.

Rainbow Laces

SSS would like to donate our limited stock of Rainbow Laces to our members (max 100 pairs each) during this month with the only cost we ask to be covered being postage. The laces will be reserved on a first come first serve basis. If interested please email Eilidh.

Football v Homophobia Month of Action

FvH Grassroots is an initiative supported by Puma to get grassroots football clubs to take action to tackle LGBTQ+ discrimination in football throughout February, the Football v Homophobia Month of Action. We recognise this is an individual journey for each club, so the campaign pack will provide different ideas which clubs can adapt.

Find out more here.

Trans Active Glasgow & Edinburgh (NEW!)

LEAP Sports programs, Trans Active Glasgow and Edinburgh are friendly sport and physical activity groups where students and community members will have the chance to socialise with other trans people, make friends, and try out new things. Now new to the city of Edinburgh, find out more here.

LEAP Sports Corporate Cup

Would you like to enter a ten-pin bowling team, raise money for LEAP Sports and compete for the win in Glasgow? Find out more here but be quick, there are is limited number of space left.

Thank you to our partners LEAP Sport for continued assistance with our development within this area of work and to our LGBTQ+ Lead Carolina for the passion and expertise she bring to her volunteering role in SSS.

If you have any further questions, please contact our Inclusion & Culture Coordinator, Eilidh.

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Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Our Equality Steering group have recruited four new volunteers onto the group. Meet our Women’s, Ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and Disability Leads here!

The Equality Steering Group was established to advise and prompt the staff, committees and networks of SSS on all relevant aspects of equality and inclusion, with particular emphasis on ensuring adherence to a rolling Equality Action Plan for the organisation. Meet our four new volunteer leads!

Emmanuel Akerele, Ethnicity Lead

Meet Your LeadMy name is Emmanuel, after serving for two years as Robert Gordon University’s President for Education and Welfare, I am now their Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Advisor working within the HR Team. I love and play football and I am very passionate about equality, diversity, and representation within sports and wider society.

What attracted you to the role? I know that still racism exists, having experienced it myself and hearing of others’ experiences. It is imperative that everyone be anti-racist, and act against racism until it is completely eradicated. During my studies, I co-founded RGU’s Black Liberation Network which is a network of students coming together to take a stand against racism. I have also led several activist campaigns in the past such as Black History Month and hope to add more value to the subject through SSS.

Fun fact about yourself? I love football and I love scoring goals. I am a big boxing fan and my favourite sportspersons are Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Joshua.

 

Carolina O’Neill de Sousa e Sá, LGBTQ+ Lead

Meet Your Lead: I’m a Portuguese/American who grew up in Lisbon and has been living in Scotland since 2013. I’ve been an avid sportsperson for most of my life; taking every opportunity to get involved in sports teams, competitions, and outdoor activities. I studied at the University of Edinburgh – as an undergraduate in Sports Science and a Masters in Sport Policy and International Development.

Like most people, it was during my time at uni that I really came into my shell. One thing which definitely helped me was joining the Women’s Football Club. It was a place where I felt understood and like I could be entirely myself. It was during my Masters that I developed my passion for promoting equality and diversity through sport, particularly LGBTIQ inclusion. I now work as a Senior Project Officer for LEAP Sports (Scotland’s LGBTIQ sports charity) and Football v Homophobia Scotland.

What attracted you to the role? Student sport is a dynamic, fast-paced industry so I have always considered SSS to be an exciting organisation to be involved in. As for the role, this is a completely new role within SSS so it feels like a clean slate and something I can get creative with. LGBTIQ inclusion in sport is what I’m passionate about, and I’m really looking forward to working with students and sports clubs all over Scotland to make student sport a more welcoming space for all LGBTIQ people.

Fun fact about yourself? Not a fun fact, but my claim to fame is that I went to school – in Portugal – with Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier. He was in the year above me, and I used to play football with him during our lunch breaks.

 

Laura Pilkington, Disability Lead

Meet Your Lead: My name is Laura Pilkington and I was born with a disability called Brittle Bones disease. I am a current student studying Physical Activity & Health at Edinburgh Napier University. I am a competitive para-swimmer and have been involved in swimming for the last 10 years. I am part of the Scottish Para-Swimming team and have Scottish para-swimming records in my classification. I am currently part of both Scottish Disability Sport and sportscotland’s Young People’s Sport Panel. I am also a swimming teacher covering shifts when I have some free time!

What attracted you to the role? I am passionate about inclusion within sport and know how much being involved within sport can have such a positive impact on your life; mentally, socially, and physically. However, I know that there are barriers that prevent those with disabilities taking part. I think raising awareness of these barriers within SSS is really important as well as finding out how best we can promote inclusion within disability sport. Sport is such a big part of student life and having a disability shouldn’t stop you from participating in this! I am really excited to work with the team and SDS to increase participation.

Fun fact about yourself? I can lick my elbow!

 

Georgia Moran, Women’s Lead

Meet Your Lead: Hello, I’m Georgia, SSS’ Women’s Lead. I studied Popular Music at Edinburgh Napier University, where I got quickly involved in the Students Association for four years before being elected as VP Sports & Societies for two years after I graduated. I am now the East Regional Development Officer at The RYA Scotland.

Being VP Sports & Socs lead me to so many amazing volunteering opportunities within SSS such as Elected Students Forum Chair, Competitions, Equality and Executive Committee Member and Chair/Founder of the Women in Sport Working Group. I have a passion for Equality and Inclusion in sport and I can’t wait to continue making a positive impact on the Student Sport Sector with SSS and the rest of the Equality Steering Group.

What attracted you to the role? I am excited about this role as it will provide more positive impacts to happen within the SSS membership. I have chaired the Women in Sport Group from 2019, now and I am so excited to keep pushing forward with the rest of the team. I have loved volunteering with SSS the past couple of years and I believe this group will have some amazing outcomes.

Fun fact about yourself? When my mum and I were visiting Nashville, Tennesse we were invited on stage to sing a couple of country songs in one of the most famous bars.

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Wednesday 27th November 2019

We are excited to launch our brand new Scottish Student Sport Podcast! Episode 1 is now LIVE and available on Spotify! Find out more here.

We are excited to announce the launch of the brand new Scottish Student Sport Podcast!

In its debut series hosts Gavin Rittoo and Stew Fowlie will be joined by a variety of guests from across the Scottish Sporting world and beyond to discuss their journey and how student sport has shaped it along the way.

Aired monthly, the podcast will feature a chat with one of the sports sabbatical officers from our member institutions – getting to know them a little bit better and the exciting work they are doing this year. There will also be a ‘competitions corner’ segment which will round up all the latest results and reaction from our competitions and events across the country. Alongside this the show will round up all the latest news, updates and discuss all the hot topics in the exciting world that is Scottish Student Sport.

Episode 1

00:00 – 08:00 – Intro and Welcome with Stew & Gav

08:00 – 24:30 – Interview with Georgia Moran, Edinburgh Napier University

24:30 – 28:00 – Live musical performance from Georgia Moran

28:00 – 31:00 – Competitions update and reaction

31:00 – 50:30 – Interview with Malcolm King from the Big Sleep Out, previewing the event in December which SSS will be participating in

50:30 – 53:00 – Round up and upcoming events with Stew and Gav

How to listen:

You can find us on spotify, stitcher, spreaker and all other good podcasting sites.

Listen to “Episode 1 | Georgia Moran & The Big Sleep Out” on Spreaker.

Get in touch

If you have listened to the podcast then we want to hear from you!

Tweet us your thoughts on the podcast using the hashtag: #SSSPOD. Whether its praise, criticism , support or if you have a great idea then let us know! We will read out the best tweets on the next episode…

If you would like to appear on the podcast then drop as an email: info@scottishstudentsport.com 

If you are interested in joining our SSS Sleep Out team on Saturday 7th of December to help raise money and fight homelessness in Scotland then all the sign up information can be found here.

 

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