How to use inclusive language in sport
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How to use inclusive language in sport

A commitment to inclusivity is about more than just having a policy.

The language you and everyone at your club uses every day plays a huge role in making people feel welcome. Team talk at half time, dressing room banter, end of season speech or committee room chatter - make it inclusive and everyone can give their best to the club and make the best of themselves.

Follow these tips:

  • Discussing difference is fine - as long as it’s not derogatory, negative or judgemental.
  • A good team talk goes a long way but not if it includes sexual acts, sexual orientations or gender identities in a negative way - even if the comments are directed at the opposition. Such team talks have no place in an inclusive club and you should let your coach know that they’re demotivating and divisive – the exact opposite of what a team talk should be.
  • Use your team talks to emphasise that being a team means not just supporting one another, but respecting and celebrating everything they are, on and off pitch.• Phrases that suggest someone isn’t living up to their gender stereotype are harmful not helpful.
  • Make room in your team talks for a wide range of motivations. People play their sport for various reasons – fun, camaraderie, exercise, escape. Winning isn’t everything to everybody. And winning at the cost of someone else’s dignity and self-esteem is no victory at all. 
  • Pronouns (he, him, she, her and they, them) have power as people use them to express their identity. If someone is clear about the pronouns they’d like you to use, make sure you address them that way. If you hear someone use the wrong pronoun for them deliberately and frequently, it’s not a mistake it’s abuse, and must be challenged and reported.
  • Slurs cause damage even if there’s no obvious ‘target.’ LGBT people don’t need to hear the words to be hurt by them. They perpetuate stereotypes, build barriers to understanding and stop the sporting arena being a welcoming place.

Download this information as a PDF.