Tuesday 22nd February 2022

Spotlight On | University of Edinburgh Women’s Football Club

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.