The LGBT Basketball Group by Jules Barnes
The LGBT Basketball Group is so much fun. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me feel safer, more accepted or more welcome at this group as I think a number of things contribute to it. Taking part in sport requires confidence and my confidence gets stronger the moment I turn up to this group. Whilst my sexuality is barely mentioned, I get this buzz from being around other LGBT people, like a quiet recognition that we have something in common.
As we often socialise after the session I can also chat about my girlfriend and what’s going on for me in my life, without feeling like I’m in the minority. I have years of experience of enduring ‘locker-room banter’ about boyfriends, people’s social and love lives and I can be part of that now, but being completely myself.
Having the sessions based locally makes them feel really accessible and I particularly enjoy getting use out of a multi-purpose community centre. We turn up just after the kids Karate sessions and just before the local men’s 5-a-side team meet, and so other groups and activities are going on alongside and around our group sessions, making them feel normal, and a fully integrated part of wider community life.
The LGBT Basketball Group is supported by the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing here in Edinburgh and that gives us a really important connection to LGBT people who might be interested in joining. They help promote us (and a variety of other groups) online and in their quarterly programme of services (that is distributed around the whole of Edinburgh) which helps people find out about the group along with everything else they have to offer.
I like the way somebody can be reading the programme looking for ways to get support with something in their life and then also stumble upon the Basketball group details which might be a great way to feel less isolated in addition to counseling or whatever else they need. I really hope the Centre’s funders continue to recognise how important safe spaces for sport and physical activity are to us and just what a positive impact this sort of group can have on our health and wellbeing