Manchester Lynx Women’s Basketball Club

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Manchester Lynx Women's Basketball Club

We are an LGBT+ club, and we welcome women from all walks of life who share the same passion for the sport of basketball. We are a large international group of basketball players with a variety of skill and level. Diversity is our middle name. We normally train at Loreto High School, but when things get back to normal, we will be recommencing training at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Belle Vue.

What is the goal / dream for your club?

"Currently, we just want things to get back to normal! We really hope that the coronavirus situation does not affect our club membership, and when we do go back, our current members will be keen to return to training and playing matches. As mentioned above, prior to the lockdown we were set to move to the National Basketball Performance Centre, which would mean a lot for the club, as we would be training in one of the best state of the art basketball centres in the U.K.. Aside from the current obstacles, we always dream big: we are thinking of starting a kids' session in the future, and it would be great if a men's gay/queer team was eventually set up.... Finally, we really hope we can win the MABL league one day!"

It is pride month so we want to know what you are most proud of about your club?

"We are proud about being the only LGBT+ club in the North of England. Our members have found a safe space where they can express themselves freely, without the fear of prejudice or homophobic attitudes. We are very welcoming to newcomers that wish to play sport in a safe and friendly environment, where being LGBTIQ+ is more than just "OK".

Aside from that, we have always retained a culture of openness and we show zero tolerance to any type of discrimination, whether this is based on sexuality, gender, faith, religion, race, ethic background, age or colour. We have faced many a challenges over the years, and this has made us stronger as a unit. We are also very proud of the fact that the club is run exclusively by women, for women - with the help of some loyal male officials and volunteers of course!"

What makes a good teammate for your club?

"Basketball is a team sport, and as the saying goes, "there is no I in team". In basketball, a good teammate is one who believes in camaraderie, is passionate without being ruled by ego, and is always willing to push and encourage their teammates to go the extra step. One who will give you tips to help improve your game. One who respects the team, the coaching staff and the opposition. One who will pick you up when you fall. One who will give you praise even if you've had a bad game. One who will lend you a shoulder if life outside the sports court has been overwhelming.

One who is happy to help with all club matters, whether it's taking the basketballs home, washing bibs or helping set up the court before a game. One for all, and all for one!"

Why do you think it is important for there to be LGBTIQ+ specific sports clubs/groups?

"I think we can all write an essay on this one. Unfortunately, homophobia & transphobia is still alive and kicking worldwide and there are still people out there who are suffering and/or losing their lives in this battle. Teenage suicide rates are rising and a large number of the victims are homosexual. Some countries still promote "conversion therapy"!

The very existence of LGBTIQ+ clubs/groups makes a stance against intolerance and we set a fine example. Hopefully, the rest of society will follow. Being based in a very diverse city as Manchester, things are a bit easier for us: however, even in this part of the western world, we still bear witness to homophobic and transphobic behaviours, even within the community (and this is very sad).

Therefore, it is vital that we provide spaces where members of the LGBTIQ+ community can practice their favourite sports without having to look over their shoulder, and most importantly, they can make friends for life and be proud of who they are. Negative attitudes and behaviours has prevented members of the LGBTIQ+ spectrum to practice sport in conventional contexts such as schools, local youth sports clubs etc. In Manchester, young people and adults who identify as LGBTIQ+ have the great opportunity to join a group, a club and practice sport while being proud of who they are.

We need to think globally, act locally, and by setting a good example, I am pretty sure that the rest of the world will follow."

Do you have an LGBTIQ+ sporting hero?

"Sue Wicks, the former WNBA All-Star who was open about her sexuality during her WNBA career. We had the pleasure of meeting her at the 2012 EuroGames in Budapest!"

How do you think sport can benefit the LGBTIQ+ community?

"It is a well-known fact that sport can help improve one's health and wellbeing, on a physical and mental level. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety affects LGBTIQ+ people at higher rates than the rest of the population, and youths are more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol. With that in mind, introducing LGBTIQ+ people to sport can be a life-changing experience.

Sport also promotes togetherness, friendship and a sense of belonging. These benefits can truly make a positive difference in the LGBTIQ+ community, where people often suffer from loneliness, or they get marginalised due to their gender or sexual orientation."

“Unfortunately, homophobia & transphobia is still alive and kicking worldwide and there are still people out there who are suffering and/or losing their lives in this battle.”
Manchester Lynx Women's Basketball Club

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