Commonwealth Sport celebrates opening of Pride House Birmingham
Commonwealth Sport has today celebrated the opening of Pride House Birmingham, which will have the biggest presence to date by a Pride House at a Commonwealth Games.
The venue is located in Birmingham's Gay Village, in close proximity to the Birmingham 2022 beach volleyball and basketball 3x3 and wheelchair basketball 3x3 venue at Smithfield. The wider project has received funding from the Commonwealth Sport Foundation, from the British Government to help support the theme of “Celebrate, Educate, Participate and from Birmingham 2022.
In addition to the main venue, above The Loft Bar & Kitchen on Bromsgrove Street, Pride House will have a presence in the Athletes’ Village for the first time ever, with stations set up at the three Birmingham 2022 Villages at The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick, and The NEC Hotel Campus.
Pride Houses are venues dedicated to LGBTIQ+ inclusion, diversity and culture that are established at major sporting events. All visitors are welcome to support and enjoy the various activities, performances and talks, which are supplemented by viewing opportunities of live sport.
Trained volunteers will also be on hand at the Village stations to talk to athletes and support staff about the Pride House programme, and signpost further information and resources. Partners of Pride House Birmingham include E.ON, PWC, DXC Technology and LSH Auto.
In the lead up to Birmingham 2022, there has been strong support for all partners to promote LGBTIQ+ inclusion at the Commonwealth Games and beyond.
In December 2021, on Rainbow Laces Day, the CGF announced the launch of the Commonwealth Sport Pride Network, aiming to promote bring together athletes, coaches, Commonwealth Games Associations and other key parties in the Commonwealth Sport Movement.
It has four goals - creating a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people and allies to undertake activities as a community, raising awareness of LGBTIQ+ participation in Commonwealth sport, supporting relevant bodies through information-sharing, training and education, and providing a platform to pursue LGBTIQ+ acceptance and equality across the Commonwealth.
The CGF Athlete Advocacy Guiding Principles, unveiled in February 2022, look to help strengthen the athlete voice across Commonwealth Sport and support athletes who wish to positively advocate for important issues, in line with the CGF’s vision and values. This includes the support of LGBTIQ+ inclusion.
As the Host Commonwealth Games Association (CGA), Team England is leading from the front, with all athletes given an option to wear detachable patches on their jackets at the Opening Ceremony, including a patch with the Pride Flag.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “I am delighted to see the opening of Pride House Birmingham today, which will be a fantastic hub to champion and enable LGBTIQ+ values throughout the Commonwealth Games.
“We are proud to support Pride House and as “The Games for Everyone” we believe that Birmingham 2022 will provide an inspiring and important opportunity to engage, champion and benefit many diverse communities, including the LGBTIQ+ sporting community.
“Our sporting family is defined by all kinds of diversity, including religious and cultural diversity. Through our support for Pride House, the CGF will continue to lead by positive example, embracing our shared passion for sport and living our values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny.”
Pride House Ambassador Michael Gunning said: “The representation of out LGBTIQ+ athletes at Birmingham 2022 will be at least three times greater than at the previous Commonwealth Games, but progress is far from universal for our community in sport.
“That’s why I'm standing up to be visible too as an Ambassador for Pride House, which promises to be a vibrant and welcoming place for everyone.
“We acknowledge that for a lot of Commonwealth Games athletes who are LGBTIQ+, the colonial-era laws still in place in their countries mean they cannot compete as their authentic selves. I'm asking our allies to consider how they can use their platforms at these Games to show up and speak up for equality.”
Pride House International Co-Chair Lou Englefield said: “We're so excited to see visitors coming through the doors of Pride House Birmingham where they will find both culture and celebration but most importantly, they will take away a call to action.
“Across the Commonwealth, millions of LGBTIQ+ people are still criminalised, stigmatised, discriminated against, or met with violence.
“The Games at Birmingham 2022 are an opportunity to drive conversation and demonstrate allyship, not least to people who are trans or intersex, with both groups increasingly being made to feel unwelcome in sport.
“We're grateful to our sponsors and supporters for providing the platform for Pride House Birmingham to inspire greater participation and inclusion through education.”
Annie Hairsine, Director of Strategic Programmes for Birmingham 2022 said: “Birmingham 2022 has been working closely with Pride House for a number of years and we are delighted to see the doors open today.
We are also pleased to have provided the funding for the Pride House presence in all three of the Athlete Villages. This permanent presence in these villages is a first for the Commonwealth Games and it is something we are very proud to have supported.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Creating a ‘Games for Everyone’ has been an essential part of our vision for Birmingham 2022. Pride House is an important part of that vision, giving a warm welcome and safe space to LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and officials from across the Commonwealth.”
Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a Proud Host City in every sense of the word – proud of its diversity and inclusive approach to providing opportunities for all, and of how we welcome people from across the Commonwealth of all and any culture, race, gender or sexuality.
Athletes, officials, volunteers, residents and visitors should all be able to be themselves, feel safe and included in our community. Here in Birmingham that will be the case during a celebration of everything great about our city.”
Pride House Birmingham has announced an initial schedule, with more events being added daily. For details and to register for ticket-only events, please visit: https://pridehousebham.org.uk/events/
About the CGF
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation that is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games, and for delivering on the vision of the Commonwealth Sports Movement: through sport, we build peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities across the Commonwealth.
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