Setting up an LGBTQ+ Group
Think about who your group is for.
Are you targeting the whole LGBTQ+ community, or are you creating activity for a particular group (trans and non-binary people, or women, for example)?
If your group is for all LGBTQ+ people, make sure you proactively promote this from the start and consider the needs of different community members.
Think about representation at all levels of your group, from participants, to coaches, to committee members. As LGBTQ+ people we know the importance of visibility and representation in society. We need to apply this to all groups under the LGBTQ+ umbrella too.
Think about the activity levels of participants at your group. Are you offering activity for:
- newcomers to your sport or physical activity
- More experienced participants to your sport or physical activity
- Active people
- Inactive people
- People looking to play competitively
- People looking to play recreationally
There are few specific sport and physical activity groups just for trans and non-binary people.
Many trans and non-binary people may travel longer distances to find sessions that meet their needs. Trans and non-binary people may be more likely to join LGBTQ+ sport and physical activity groups, as these can be seen as potentially safe spaces. It is therefore important to consider trans and non-binary inclusion right from the start.
Be clear about your group’s trans and non-binary inclusion from the outset.
Make it visible on any promotion for your club, as well as on your website and social media channels. There are ways to show your group is inclusive to trans and non-binary people, for example, by using trans or non-binary flags. This can be an effective way of signalling your group’s values on a graphic or the bio of your social media accounts.
If your group is a gendered group, but is inclusive of non-binary people, be clear that ALL non-binary people are welcome,
and think through the ways in which non-binary people may be included in any affiliated competitive activity. Manchester Laces recently launched as a new women and non-binary football club. Their commitment to inclusion can be seen on the home screen of their website:
You may find some useful information in Pride Sports’ Non-Binary guidance:
Where possible, speak to trans and non-binary people before launching your group to hear their thoughts and experiences about your sport or physical activity.
They may be able to identify some sport or physical activity specific barriers for trans and non-binary people, as well as give you pointers on facilities, places to promote your group and other areas. If you do not know any trans or non-binary people, reach out to other similar LGBTQ+ sport or physical activity groups, or ask at local LGBTQ+ services.
Check in regularly with trans and non-binary members to hear their experiences and listen to where any changes can be made to accommodate trans and non-binary people further.
Trans and non-binary people often face a lack of representation in sport.
Share stories and profiles of any trans and non-binary participants at your group, who are happy to have these published on social media. This can be a great way to share positive stories, as well as give inspiration to trans and non-binary people to join.
Make sure you are aware of any governing body trans policy and how it relates to trans and non-binary participants and whether it places any restrictions on their involvement in any competition.
Your committee is the group responsible for making decisions and ensuring the group runs smoothly. The key roles for any group are:
You may need to bring in more committee members and roles as your group develops and grows.
These could include roles to deal with marketing, fundraising, equality & diversity and any other roles that you see as required for your group.
If you’ve been operating an informal group, you may already have people who can step into these roles.
Otherwise, you will you need to recruit committee members. This could be done via local LGBTQ+ networks and organisations.
Plan how your committee will communicate and how frequently you will have meetings.
This information can also be included in the group rules or constitution.
You should have an initial meeting with your new committee, before launching any activity,
to discuss the group, share the vision and purpose, agree on a constitution and other necessary policies.
Throughout your group’s journey, you will need to recruit new volunteers to your committee.
- Have a clear understanding of what responsibilities the person in each role will have. Keep a written role description to share around other committee members and add to as the group and roles develop. Use this role description in promotion so people can clearly and easily understand what is required.
- Include clear information about the amount of hours the person needs to commit to this role.
- Example role outlines can be found here:
- Committee volunteers are often found amongst participants, so share information about volunteer positions within any existing members.
- Share the role description on any private social media groups for your members and speak to people about it in person, so they can ask any questions.
- Your members may be really excited to volunteer, however, might not know about the opportunities to help out or might need additional information about what is required of them.
- You may decide to promote committee opportunities through external groups and websites, particularly if you are advertising a role with specific skills required, such as a treasurer. LGBTQ+ people may be motivated to volunteer, even if they are not interested in sport themselves.
Some places you could try recruiting volunteers are:
- Any local LGBTQ+ staff networks (your local authority or other large local employer might have one)
- Local LGBTQ+ organisations
- Your local active partnership
- Pride Sports
Supporting your committee volunteers
- Volunteers are an important part of helping your group run. It is important to get to know them and understand their motivations for volunteering. Make sure to recognise their efforts regularly, so they feel their work is being seen.
- Due to the nature of volunteering, some people may have other commitments which can get in the way or face other pressures on the amount of time they can spend on volunteering. Work with your volunteers through any difficulties they face and support them if they need to take a break.
Who is going to lead your sport and physical activity session?
Are you looking for a qualified coach?
- Anybody who delivers a session is important in setting the environment for each session. Getting the right coach/ session lead will help members feel a part of your group and help them feel motivated to keep coming back each week.
- The group’s environment should align with its purpose and any coach/instructor/leader should be aware of this and hold similar values. For example, if you are a recreational group, offering opportunities to people who are otherwise inactive, you want a coach that understands the needs of the participants.
- Research by Energise Me identified that LGBT+ participants place greater value on coaches and instructors being understanding, inclusive, approachable, adaptable and supportive, rather than the qualifications they hold
- Also think about what qualifications you feel it may be important for your coach to have. Most coaching qualifications come with first aid qualifications and an opportunity to understand more about the safeguarding of participants. It is advisable that your coach has a first aid qualification to deal with any issues that may arise. Your local active partnership may offer general sports first aid courses and national governing bodies will provide sport specific first aid courses.
Discuss with your committee about who the coach, instructor or session leader will be, whether an internal member would like to take this role, or whether you will recruit someone external.
Make sure the coach/session lead is aware of the activity, skill and experience level of your participants.
If you have a group of mixed abilities, your coach/session lead should understand how to differentiate activities, to accommodate all participants.
- Who is your group for?
- Who will be on the committee?
- What roles will they have?
- Who will be delivering the sport or physical activity?
- Do you have coaches and volunteers?