Grays get behind LGB&T Sport Cymru
Globally recognised hockey brand Grays has made a bright and bold statement in support of the #ProudToPlay movement by designing and producing a custom rainbow hockey stick for Welsh International and LGB&T Sport Cymru Ambassador, Beth Fisher.
Beth, who is also an athlete ambassador for Grays said, “To have an international sport brand produce such a visible statement of support is overwhelming. It is another example of how sport can be used as a vehicle to promote positive steps forward for the LGB&T and wider community. I have always been proud to represent Grays on the pitch but now it is extra special.”
The project came about when Beth tweeted at Grays, who were established in Cambridge in 1855, about the possibility of supporting her in her role as an LGB&T Sport Cymru Ambassador with a custom stick.
Jamie Busbridge from Grays said: “We at Grays are honoured to help Beth promote the diverse range of people that are part of the global hockey community and we are proud to have her as our ambassador. It has been a brilliant project and I hope her stick will inspire others to be proud to play.”
According to Stonewall, more than 75,000 young LGB&T people will be bullied because of who they are and a separate Sport Wales and Stonewall Cymru study found that 75% of LGB individuals have heard homophobic ‘banter’ while either watching or playing sport.
Luke Young, Campaigns Manager at Stonewall Cymru said: “There’s a growing movement of people who want sport to be open to all who have the passion to play. It so important that role models like Beth can be open about who they are and know that the key players in hockey are behind her. The rainbow stick is a statement of pride but also an open invitation for others to be Proud to Play.”
In 2014 Sports Wales’ commitment to equality and inclusion in sport, lead to the creation of the LGB&T Sport Cymru Charter, with the vision to create a thriving LGB&T sporting community in Wales. Hockey Wales was the first national governing body to sign up and since then has helped to raise awareness of LGB&T hockey players and club opportunities using #ProudToPlay.
Most recently Hockey Wales have encouraged clubs to register with LGB&T Sport Cymru to be recognised and recommended as a safe and friendly club for LGB&T individuals on the organisations new website, when it launches at the end of the month.
Michelle Daltry, LGB&T Sport Cymru Chair, said, “Hockey Wales have led the way with a committed and proactive approach to LGB&T inclusivity, and this significant profile statement from Grays will be a fantastic visual catalyst for further enabling conversations with people to help challenge preconceptions. We are incredibly grateful to all our partners for their on-going support and look forward to seeing the growth of a more diverse hockey family”.
Hockey Wales are also supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign by providing free rainbow laces to hockey clubs that register in October so they can demonstrate their commitment to inclusive hockey while playing. This is part of a wider national campaign called #Hocktober, which runs through October and aims at growing the hockey family and improving access for everyone to quality hockey opportunities.
Beth, who is also supporting #Hocktober, added: “I‘ve been fortunate to play for a few clubs in Wales and each one has been vital in helping my confidence on and off the pitch. It is our duty as a hockey family to stand up and show our support for the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign. It is a small gesture, but it delivers a huge statement which I hope will help all players, coaches, volunteers and officials involved in hockey feel welcome and safe.”
As well as her custom stick, Beth and her team will also be wearing rainbow laces while training and playing for Swansea City Spartans in the Investec Hockey League, as will their National League male counterparts, Cardiff & Met (pictured below).
To find out more about #Hocktober click here, or for more information on Hockey Wales’ rainbow laces campaign for Hocktober, click here.
For more information on LGB&T Sport Cymru, visit Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or contact Michelle Daltry on Michelle@lgbtsport.cymru.
For more information on Grays, visit www.grays-hockey.co.uk.