The Pride in London parade will attract support from an unexpected source this weekend when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) becomes the first national sports governing body to take part independently in the march.
Around one million partygoers are expected to assemble in London to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT+ community – and this year a small group of ECB employees will be march under an ECB banner, alongside six representatives from cricket clubs around the country.
They will be joined by colleagues from the NatWest-supported #NoBoundaries campaign which is designed to showcase the diversity of modern cricket in the UK.
Announcement of the ECB’s support comes at a time when Pink News publicised a survey which suggests that as many as 80% of LGBT+ teenagers between 13 and 17 do not feel comfortable coming out to their sports coaches. The main reasons expressed were unease in the dressing room environment and the homophobic language which can still occasionally be heard.
The survey took place in the United States, but the belief is that similar results would be found in the UK. Researchers in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the University of Connecticut concentrated on this age group, Pink News reported, “because of the positive social, psychological and physiological effects of engaging in physical activities that teen may miss out due to lack of acceptance.
The ECB’s People Director, Rosie Ranganathan, said: “We’re hugely proud to be taking part in Pride in London. It demonstrates our continued commitment to making ECB and cricket in general as welcome and accessible as possible.
“Cricket is a game for all and we want to demonstrate our support for the LGBT community. Nobody should feel they can’t get involved in our sport and it’s important to us that everyone feels welcome in cricket.
Professional cricketers will again be involved again in the Rainbow Laces campaign across the Vitality Blast and Women’s Kia Super League in late July.
Back in 2012, as part of the government’s Sport Charter to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport, a number of sporting national governing bodies – led by the RFL and including the ECB – did march together in London’s Pride parade as part of a Government-led campaign, but previously no governing body has taken part as an individual organisation.