1200x410 LGBTQ tournament

September 12, 2022

LGBTQ+ badminton club Goslings London played host to a landmark inclusive tournament at Redbridge Leisure Centre in early September.

Over 200 people from clubs across the globe competed in two days of action in Redbridge, with singles, doubles and mixed doubles events all taking place.

The tournament, despite lengthy planning issues and being delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic, eventually proved to be a universal success.

Club member Ubaid-ul Rehman, who helped organise the event, said: “The tournament turned out really well. We ended up holding it over two days, Friday and Saturday.

“Friday we did both the singles and mixed doubles, and on Saturday we did men’s and women’s doubles.

“We had around 230-240 participants over those two days and another 20 or so who joined us on Saturday night for our tournament party which was held in the Liverpool Street area.”

The tournament came at a significant time where LGBTQ+ rights, particularly transgender rights, are being called into question both in the UK and across the globe.

And the importance of continuing to provide a happy and inclusive environment for people to enjoy sport was not lost on anyone.

Rehman added: “These tournaments are hugely important, especially right now with the backlash towards the LGBTQ+ movement and particularly transgender community.

“We’ve got to remember a lot of these clubs – especially Goslings London – started as a social support group in the 1980s, when there were huge amounts of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

“These clubs started as place where people could have fun, be authentic, be themselves with other like-minded people, not feel like they’re somewhere prejudiced or discriminatory, and also offer a form of family.

“These kinds of events allow people to participate and access spaces that might not have been available to them when they were growing up, when they wanted to join sports clubs.

“When we bring these clubs together, it’s another way of accessing space that they may not have access before, especially national and international tournaments where they can compete, and enjoy the sport without feeling that their sexuality and gender identity will be an issue.

“These spaces allow the LBGTQ+ community to compete in categories where they identify and where they feel comfortable.

“Clubs like ours and tournaments like this allow that space to happen, where people can be free and be their authentic selves.”

Rehman also believes that the event is an ideal way to demonstrate how effective Badminton England’s new Equality, Diversion and Inclusion (EDI) strategy can be.

He said: “It’s really important that the strategy endorses, supports and values these kind of events and promotes them.

“This is exactly what the EDI strategy is about, it’s about recognising diverse ethnic communities exist, recognising that there is a need for participation and accessibility. We need to allow people to create that space and own that space, who compete to be themselves.

“It’s not just about LGBTQ+ people, it’s about disabled people, it’s about women and diverse ethnic communities.

“At badminton clubs you see an intersectionality of all those groups clumped together and that’s why it’s important that the sport uses these kinds of moments.”

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