Pride House will begin two and a half weeks of inclusive action on Friday aimed at ensuring “challenging and difficult negotiations” take place at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in a safe place.
The Hub is located at the Wiener House in the heart of Birmingham’s Gay Village, just 100 meters from the Smithfield site, which will host beach volleyball, basketball and wheelchair basketball.
Its doors will open this week, with several LGBTQ+ events taking place every day. Admission will be free and visitors must include athletes, fans, staff and volunteers.
On Friday, a panel will discuss the inclusion of transgenders in grassroots sports before a DJ set in the evening with activities, performances, screenings and entertainment leading up to the final day of the Commonwealth Games in August.
Pride House ambassador Amazone Lethi told the PA news agency: “It is very important for LGBTQ+ athletes to have a Pride House.
“We need our own safe space to champion equality where LGBTQ+ athletes feel it is a safe place for them to live, but also to have these challenging and difficult conversations where we bring different communities together. can.
“It’s a great time throughout the game to bring everyone together to have a conversation.
“Trans inclusion is the last frontier. We have seen what has happened in the US – and even in the UK – around Lia Thomas and now swimming has said that trans women do not compete against other women at the elite level. So I think it’s very important that we start Pride House trans inclusion in the world. Games to keep her constantly top of mind.”
This year’s Commonwealth Games are the first to fully integrate Pride House, which will help ensure that the message ‘Celebrate, Participate, Educate’ can reach a wider audience in terms of competitors.
Of the 72 countries included in Birmingham 2022, at least half still have anti-LGBTQ+ laws, but Lethi thinks current hosts can shape conversations about how to improve these issues in the coming years.
“It’s making sure you’re leaving a legacy behind and I think the UK has that responsibility because a lot of LGBTQ+ laws come from the Commonwealth and the UK is colonizing those countries,” he said. Told.
“We have a moment right now to set things right in terms of bringing all these countries together for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and really standing up for equality.
“We are simply reminding all of these countries of the reasons why it is important for LGBTQ+ people to come out and be proud of their game without any sort of backlash.
“I think because we’re hosting, we have a moment to decide what legacy we want to leave behind and shape the conversation we want to take to Australia (to Melbourne 2026) “
Vietnam-born Lethi is due to speak about next year’s Gay Games at Pride House Birmingham in August, where she is also an ambassador, which will be in Hong Kong.
Having experienced sexism, homophobia and racism during her journey from sprinter to bodybuilder, one of LeThi’s goals is to see more children of Asian descent flourish at the highest level in the sport.
He believes the greater visibility of British Asians in Birmingham 2022 could act as a catalyst for more grassroots participation, with Issie Wong – who has Cantonese heritage – playing the role of England’s cricket team at the recent Games. have been selected for.
Lethi said: “The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham requires the UK to negotiate with itself about diversity and inclusion in British sports and because of this we don’t just see the number of ethnic minority athletes we should be seeing in sport. the elite.
“When you consider that the landscape of the UK has changed, what should we do at the grassroots level so that more black and Asian children have access to sports?
“But at that crucial moment when Issie Wong appears on screen at the Commonwealth Games and a British Asian boy sees her for the first time, they will realize that they can represent the UK and England as well.
“I think Team GB, Team England and all UK sporting organizations have a responsibility to develop grassroots access to sport for the Asian community.”