Cardiff’s Athletic Union celebrates its increased LGBTQ+ representation

Source: CUSU

by Ella Fenwick

As part of LGBTQ+ History month, Sports Editor Ella Fenwick sat down with AU Vice President of Sports Jude Pickett to talk about what Cardiff University does to ensure there is inclusivity in our sporting community. 

She said: “We have our tier system in which we encourage Give it a Go’s and inclusive environments through that. We also have our committee training which touches on it.”

When working directly with the different sports clubs at the University, Pickett says, “We are really proud that a lot of our clubs are incredibly inclusive and they know that they can come and speak to us if they have any issues or they want to talk things over.

“I think we celebrate clubs that are very inclusive or have inclusive environments, but we also like to try and make it very normalised. Our AU is quite an LGBTQ+ run and focused and I think that the normalisation of it in sport is something that we massively encourage.

“I think in the last three years, there has been a change in attitude towards LGBTQ+ involvement in sport and we don’t have to do that much to make sure clubs are inclusive because they already know that’s the right thing to do.” 

With the number of high-profile LGBTQ+ sportspeople increasing, Pickett said, “I watched the documentary about Gareth Thomas and the ultra-marathon he did after declaring he had HIV. I just think that was a landmark and showed that people can do anything regardless of their circumstances and regardless of what they have going on. They can still achieve things and I think for those who have HIV he is a huge inspiration.

“I personally think that all athletes are amazing, it doesn’t matter to me what their background is or what their sexuality is. I think that an athlete is an athlete regardless and nothing else comes into play.”

Stonewall, a charity in support of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports and founder of the rainbow laces movement, found that four in ten LGBTQ+ individuals don’t think sports is welcoming. Furthermore, 11% of LGBTQ+ sportspeople have been discriminated against while exercising at a fitness club or taking part in group sport in the last year. 

The University will be supporting Stonewall in the rainbow laces movement, “Considering it is LGBTQ+ history month, we are going to launch our rainbow laces campaign,” Pickett said. “For Varsity, there are laces we are giving out to all competitors to show that they’re in support of inclusive communities within their sport.” 

Understanding not all sports will be wearing laces, Pickett says: “As well as rainbow laces we are getting armbands for those clubs that either can’t wear laces or for captains. We think that if one role model wears the armband it will make a difference to someone in the crowd. 

Pickett has set a goal for the upcoming year to encourage support throughout the sports clubs, “We are using rainbow laces at Varsity as a showcase, so hopefully then the Union can stock rainbow laces and bands so that anyone can wear them playing sport. Hopefully it will be something that will be a legacy.”

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