About

Out For Sport London is a grass roots, all volunteer organisation run by London’s sports clubs. We represent London’s LGBT sports clubs and teams to increase participation in LGBT sport in and around London by:
Raising awareness of LGBT Sports Clubs and their activities
Encouraging and enabling new members to access LGBT Sports Clubs
Promoting participation in LGBT sport in and around London
In Gay Games years, promoting the Games, encouraging and enabling registration and participation.
Promoting the health and well-being of members of the LGBT Sport Club community in and around London, regardless of age, ethnic origin, ability, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identification, belief or political affiliation, recognising the value of our many differences.
Minimising any additional bureaucracy and burden on the LGBT Sports Clubs.
If your club is interested in affiliating to Out for Sport contact the Out For Sport chair – ofschair[@]gmail.com
or
register for membership through our online form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1N0HeK1G1jREcFjTKJXYDIxFbMtNGDC2WMuth87NpF10/viewform
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7 comments

  1. Craig Jewitt

    I am a Fencing Instructor working for a Fencing Club in London called http://www.fightingfitfencing.com I am sure we would be very interested in being part of Out for Sport this year. Details of our club can be found at the website. We are a full time centre dedicated to training World class athletes. As well as that we engage with the public and are looking to broaden our involvement in the LGBT community. I am myself a gay man and wonder if the LGBT community know that fencing is for them too!

    Anyhow I do hope to hear from you soon.

    Regards
    Craig Jewitt
    Fencing Coach
    07800856353

  2. nicole

    HI,
    I am looking for the large schedule on here. Can you tell me the direct link? It says it starts today, however I dont see anything for today. THANKS!
    nicole

    • alexswims

      Hi Nicole, The first activity actually begins tomorrow with the Sailing social. I’ll email you the full schedule and see if there is some way we can upload it to the website. Thanks for your comment and highlighting the need for a clear outline for the week. Alex

  3. LGBTQ+ health advocate

    Have had terrible problems with Out to Swim. I’ve tried many gay sports clubs and found it the least friendly and supportive and the most cliquey. They have a shocking record on disability and diversity. Have seen a coach humiliate and be aggressive towards a disabled swimmer. They do not comply with even basic requirements of DSA, and anyone who complains is made to feel so uncomfortable that they leave the club. Sean there for 2 months before anyone asked me to join the drinks. Heard this is common. Why is this ‘club’ supported under the Out for Sport umbrella?

    Want to be discrete about this as don’t want to be made to feel worse already in the club.

    • ofschair

      Hi LGBTQ+ health advocate. I’m really sorry to hear about your experience of Out To Swim. Out to Swim was a founding member of Out For Sport and club members have sat on the OFS committee ever since. I’d strongly recommend you drop the OTS swimmers rep a line (detials on the website here: http://www.outtoswim.org/team/), or any of the committee members if you have met any of them and feel comfortable talking to them. Michelle, the head coach is one of London’s leading disability swim coaches and I’m sure she’d want to hear about your experiences.

      You can also contact London Swimming (http://www.londonswimming.org/about/staff-team) to raise any concerns if you don’t feel comfortable speaking with the club committee members or coaching staff directly, as OTS is Swim 21 accredited, meeting the standards laid out by the ASA with regards inclusion policies, safeguarding and coaching standards.

      Finally, I’d like to offer my personal support – I’ve been a member of Out To Swim for 11 years, and am really sorry to hear you’ve not found it to be an unfriendly environment. Feel free to drop me a line ofschair@gmail.com and I’d be happy to liaise with the OFS committee on your behalf.

      Kind wishes,
      Alex
      Chair, Out For Sport

    • Philip Collins

      Hi LBTO+ health advocate,

      Thank you for your feedback and we’re sorry to hear that in your experience the many safeguards we have put in place are not yet enough. We are not perfect, but we do address specific issues when we are made aware of them.

      Out to Swim, a competitive aquatics club established in 1992 and a founder member of Out for Sport, has always striven to be non-discriminatory.  Right from its early days it provided training opportunities for blind and partially sighted swimmers to train for Paralympic swimming events.  Since then it has accommodated other swimmers with disabilities ranging from deaf swimmers through those with joint injuries and other trauma.  It has positively encouraged those members with disabilities to participate in the operation of the club, and several of the coaches, being members with disabilities, have been supported and trained by Out to Swim, and now coach regularly with the club and elsewhere. Approximately 10% of our 350 members are disabled. We do not discriminate against those with little or no swimming experience, having expanded our take up to include those who require swimming lessons. We accept that perfection is something to be aimed for, but seldom achieved, and this has always been our philosophy.

      Our approach to inclusivity means disability awareness training for each new Committee and specific disability training for our teachers and coaches – and here we are lucky in that our head coach has such a wide experience in working with athletes with disabilities. At least one of our coaches holds a certificate in Mental Health First Aid.

      We ensure that members have the opportunity to raise issues of concern through various channels.  First and foremost are the aquatic representatives, who have overall concern for the issues raised by members. We have both male and female representatives from swimming and water polo on the Committee.  Members also have the opportunity to (and do!) raise coaching concerns with the head coach.  We have a Compliance Officer who has direct access to the committee and the ability to require the committee to consider matters raised.

      The social side is an important element to many members and the club has formal and informal social activities, organized by the swimming and water polo disciplines from time to time. These Club socials are open to all members and usually mentioned on Facebook, by email and an announcement poolside.

      Best wishes,

      Philip Collins
      Chair
      Out To Swim

  4. AS above

    Thanks Philip,

    I think you have made many changes for the good which were much needed. It seemed when I last swam with the club that how OTS was in its early days as a community club had changed somewhat with the younger members. Being ‘youngish’ myself (30s), I felt there was too much emphasis on the wrong things from members, especially given it is primarily a swimming club, and lack of leadership or direction or from the previous leadership. This allowed active clique to select who would be included in social events, and who excluded. An emphasis on the club being a place to meet partners, rather than being about friendship and competive swimming. Whilst I think it is great that changes are being made; the club really needs to be much more balanced, in terms of gender, race, ability and focused on genuinely supportive and inclusive, swimming and competition. When this happens, I think it will give a much more powerful message for the wellbeing of all the LGBTQ+ community at Pride marches than endless photos of rippling abs, of the same usual suspects in speedos. Wouldn’t it be great to see more women, and a club that actually reflects gay London at a time of rising mental health problems, HIV and STI infections and drug use? Especially given the benefits of swimming. It’s great that coaches are being giving further training. There are and remain lovely and amazing people in the club, but coaches have s big responsibility in building confidence and not undermining it. Swimming ability should be encouraged not anything else. Great progress, but in the light of what to me seemed so blatantly obvious, it is such a shame that change had been so slow in coming. Looking at other sports clubs they appear to be much further along the line if representing all of gay London than OTS. Nevertheless huge appreciation to you for taking charge and making wonderful progress. If ever London needs this, it is needed now and those who seek to make changes need to be proactive in doing this across the gay community. Sports clubs should be at the forefront of LGBTQ+ wellbeing and not behind the times… Many thanks for your response Philip.

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