Though there is clearly a long way to go, I agree with that and when I reflect purely on the journey the sport that I am primarily involved in has made, I see huge positives in the direction of travel.
Sport England has a role to play in that.
Our long-term strategy has a core theme – tackling the inequalities that make it harder for some people to be active over others and, within that, ensuring that the inequalities facing the LGBTQ+ community is a key part.
When we were consulting in the lead-up to developing the strategy, we worked with a variety of LGBTQ+ people and organisations where a number of key themes and issues emerged.
One was the relatively lightweight presence of data of LGBTQ+ people involved in sport and physical activity. This is something we are seeking to address through a collaborative review of data, insight and learning needs within our sector.
I’m confident we can make important strides in this area and do much more to use data and insight to inform our sector about what we know, and to help make the changes that ensure more LGBTQ+ people can be part of sport and physical activity in a safe and inclusive way.
The second common theme is that we should be much more proactive in championing all of the great work being done across sport and using our channels and influence to highlight all of the best practice that is making a huge difference already.
As part of Pride Month we’ve started to do this and we’ll be updating our website to point to some of the excellent resources out there to support LGBTQ+ inclusion, including highlighting case studies as well as tips and guidance and pointing to the great work of Pride Sports and others.
Another key area focused on the desire for us to be more front-footed on some of the more challenging issues facing LGBTQ+ inclusion and sport, and in particular on the issues facing transgender people.
To that end, Sport England is working with the other five sports councils of the UK (Sport Wales, sportscotland, Sport Northern Ireland and UK Sport) to update outdated guidance which related to transgender inclusion in sport. A wide-ranging consultation has concluded, and the information is being processed with a view to being published later this year.
Ultimately, as we as an organisation continue to move towards our central mission in tackling inequalities and to applying a more values-based approach to our work, we have to ensure that we’re looking at where all inequalities are found and experienced, including those facing LGBTQ+ people, and in Pride Month it is timely to reflect that much more must be done, while recognising great progress.
To the 16-year-old me who found herself through rugby, that progress is simply incredible.