The co-founder of Pride House in Birmingham has outlined his ambitions to “leave a legacy that promotes LGBTQ+ right across the Midlands”, during the Commonwealth Games.
Neil Basterfield, Co-Founder of Pride House Birmingham, said that “our aim is to encourage more members of our community to get behind sport and enjoy it, whilst also raising awareness of issues surrounding LGBTQ+ participation in sport”.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games are being held in Birmingham this year and it is the third time England has hosted, following London and Manchester.
The Games take place from July 28 until August 8, 2022. Birmingham was named as the host City by the Commonwealth Games Federation in 2017.
The Pride House movement started in 2010 for the Vancouver Winter Olympics and there has been one at every major Olympic and Commonwealth game since.
Pride House Birmingham will look to house not only athletes but spectators, officials and volunteers during the games, and it is “modelled after a traditional Olympic hospitality house”.
Neil says that he hopes Pride House’s encourages more LGBTQ+ members to “get involved with the games and it being huge for the community.
“The LGBTQ+ community, traditionally, don’t feel safe at sporting events and it’s a well-known fact that there is less participation in sport amongst the LGBTQ+ community than wider society.
“We are underrepresented in sport and part of the issue is that people feel as though the culture is not for them.
“There is the fear of homophobia, you can’t be yourself or go with your partner to the games. To be able to go to watch the sport, participate in events or have a drink, safely, is huge and is something we can offer at Pride House.
“We will also be holding events and activities, highlighting certain issues. For example, you have to remember that 35 countries in the Commonwealth still criminalise homosexuality and that’s a big problem for us”.
He added: “We will be welcoming people from all those nations and be providing a safe place for them because in their own countries their culture is very different”.
Pride House will be open from 22 July until 8 August this summer and will be located right in the heart of the Gay Village in the Wynner House, Bromsgrove Street.