Delegates from across Scotland and beyond gathered in Glasgow over the weekend to take steps to improve inclusion of diverse gender and sexual orientation identities in sport.
As part of the Diverse Identities in Sport event, hosted by LEAP Sports Scotland, a new ground breaking film launched, promoting transgender inclusion in sport. The short film ‘Let Me Be Brave’ shares the stories of six transgender people active in community sports in Scotland.
The title of the film was inspired by one of the participants, Lewis Maxwell-Marshall Brookes, who shares his experiences of competing in the Special Olympics, relaying the motto for the special Olympics in Athens: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’
Speaking about the film, Hugh Torrance, Director of LEAP Sports Scotland said: “In the process of delivering training to the sports sector, it became apparent to us that there was a general lack of awareness of the issues that transgender people face in sport. Feedback from training also told us that whilst issues around sexual orientation in sport were becoming better understood and participants were gaining conﬁdence, the same could not be said for gender identity or gender reassignment.
“The idea for the ﬁlm emerged as we tried to work out ways to provide resources to the sports sector to help them to better understand these issues. The film shows the importance of sport in the lives of trans people in the same way that it is important in the lives of others, but how difficult it can sometimes be to take part. It will be used as an awareness raising tool, as well as a resource that groups can use within training.”
Charlotte McCarroll, one of the people who features in the film commented: “Sport brings home your body differences and that puts a lot of people off, certainly during the transition period until they’re happy with their bodies, which for many, can take many, many years. It’s not fair that people should be excluded from sports because of body differences.”
Charlotte has been instrumental in kick starting Scotland’s first, and only, transgender swimming club, Seahorses, which runs in Glasgow. She goes on to say: “It’s a bit of a little victory for myself: if I can get confident enough to go in to the appropriate changing room for me, change in to my swimsuit, go for a swim, and then go back in, get changed again – I thought, if I can do that, I’m doing well.”
Gina Gordon, another participant in the film, who is active in Badminton in the borders, said: “I couldn’t do without my sport. I don’t have a great circle of friends so sport is something that’s in my diary every week. It makes you feel better, keeps you fit. I’m down in the borders here, doing it on my own. You have to tough it out.”
Speaking about their involvement in funding the film Stewart Harris, Chief Executive, sportscotland said: “At sportscotland our aim is to ensure that sport is accessible. We know that the key to widening access is to understand and address the needs of people who share protected characteristics and that is why we were keen to support this initiative.
“The film provides a great resource to raise awareness and can be shared right across the sporting system in Scotland. We are committed to providing more and better opportunities for everyone to make sport a part of their lives and will work with our partners in LEAP Sports Scotland and the governing bodies of sport to break down barriers and make an active lifestyle a positive experience.”