5 – LGBT UK Sports Timeline

Timeline of UK LGBT Sport - British Gay Sports History 

The LGBT UK Sports timeline was first published in 2012 at the time of the London Olympic Games as a way of documenting British LGBT Sports History for future generations.

British Gay Sports Timeline – 1919 to 2014 

1910s

1919

14-year-old Lily Parr is “talent-spotted” by the manager of a women’s football team at the Dick, Kerr and Co munitions factory in Preston, Lancashire. Parr quickly becomes a star player and stays with the team until 1950, scoring over 900 goals. Parr was the only woman in the inaugural list of the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame in 1992. The annual Lily Parr Exhibition Trophy was established during LGBT History Month 2007.

1920s

1926

Betty ‘Joe’ Carstairs becomes the fastest woman on water when she wins the Duke of York’s trophy. Known for her eccentric lifestyle (having tattoos and keeping penguins) as much as for her love of speed, Betty had a string of affairs with, among others, Marlene Deitrich and Oscar Wilde’s niece, Dolly.

1930s

1936

British javelin and shot put record holder, Mark Weston, completes gender reassignment surgery. As Mary Weston it is claimed she was an Olympian, though no record of her competing is found. It arises from a misunderstanding – Mary competed in the Women’s World Games which were originally called the Women’s Olympics.

1940s

1950s

1956

Gay yacht designer Christopher ‘Kim’ Holman wins the Pattinson Cup at the Burnham Week Regatta with his 20-foot sloop. He goes on to design dozens of other winning yachts, and cofounds the Suffolk Yacht Harbour marina, and is member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

1958

John Menlove Edwards, the leading British rock-climber of the inter-war years, commits suicide at the age of 57. A psychiatrist by profession, he struggled with depression, the limitations imposed on his research ideas, and the isolation he felt of being gay when it was still illegal.

1960s

1970s

1976

Gay Outdoor Club Formed (GOC) formed.

1976

Angela Eagle (later a Labour politician) is joint winner of the British Girls’ Under-18 chess championship.

1976

Goslings Swimming Club is formed. Now the club includes badminton.

1976

UK’s ice skater John Curry wins gold and comes first – twice – at the Winter Olympics – Innsbruck, Austria. At a press conference he confirms rumours of his sexuality becoming the first Olympian to come out while the games are in progress. He is awarded the OBE in the Birthday Honours. Beside Curry on the medal podium is bronze winner Toller Cranston, who is inspired by Curry to come out later.

1977

CAG Tennis Group formed in Croydon.

1980s

1980

Sailing and Cruising Association is formed in London, a club for sailing and boating enthusiasts.

1982

British athletes attend the first ever Gay Games in San Francisco. UK athletes and sports groups have attended every Gay Games, Out Games and Euro Games since. Multi sport events have been the catalyst for the growth of the gay sports movement worldwide throughout the last 30 years.

1986

Ted Tinling inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

1988

Hackney Women’s Football Club formed. The first “out” Women’s football team in Europe.

1989

Gay Football Supporters Network is the first UK Gay Sports Club to form.

1990s

1990

London Raiders Softball Team Club forms. Originally called Rainbow Raiders.

1990

Out to Swim is the first gay swimming club formed by athletes returning from Gay Games.

1991

Stonewall Football Club is the first gay football club to form.

1992

Carl Hestor represents the Team GB Equestrian and attends the Barcelona Olympics.

1992

Dynamo Dykes Vollyball Club Forms.

1994

British Gay & Lesbian Sports Federation forms to unite gay sports clubs.

1994

Death of John Curry, 1974 Olympic ice Skating Gold medallist.

1995

London Front Runners Forms.

1995

Kings Cross Steelers first Gay Rugby Club forms.

1995

Streatham Storm women’s ice hockey is formed.

1995

London Spikers Volleyball Club Formed

1996

Village Manchester Football Club is Formed – Manchester’s first LGBT Sports Club.

1996

Ishigaki jujitsu club is formed.

1996

Leicester Wildecats FC  is formed.

1996

Grace’s Cricket Club is formed.

1996

Cycle Out is formed.

1996

The Team Manchester NHS project began researching LGBT Sports as a means to tackle heart disease.

1997

Brighton Lesbian & Gay Sports Society Forms to unite Brighton Sports groups.

1997

Irons Golf Formed.

1997

Yorkshire Terriers FC formed.

1998

Nine new LGBT sports groups, including Northern Wave Swim Club are launched under the Team Manchester banner.

1998

Manchester Village Spartans RUFC formed.

1998

Justin Fashanu Britain’s first Bi-sexual footballer commits suicide after nearly a decade of hounding by the UK press. His story effected a whole generation of gay athletes and it took until 2013 for another UK footballer to come out.

1999

Out for Sport London is formed and they hold first multi sports day at Crystal Palace.

1999

Sue Emerson becomes first European Female Co President of the Federation of Gay Games.

1999

Leftfooters FC founded.

1999

Northern Ace Tennis Club Founded.

2000s

2000           

The First UK Gay Sports Festival was held in Waltham Forest. The opening ceremony was graced by the Beverley Sisters and the cultural festival was headlined by Bucks Fizz. The festival was organised by Waltham Forest Local Authority and a consortium of gay sports groups, who were led by FGG Co-president Sue Emerson. The highlight of the weekend was the dance sport competition, which was completely sold out with a capacity of 250 people.

2000

Lee Pearson, Team GB Equestrian Para Olympian Wins 1st Para Olympic Gold.

2000

Northern Flight Badminton Club Forms.

2000

Orion Rowing Club Forms.

2001

Trina Gulliver wins the first of a total of Nine World Darts Championship titles.

2001

London LGB Gymnastics & Diving Forms.

2002

Michael Hill, Motorcyclist Launches Taboo Motor racing.

2002

Caledonian Thebans RFC formed.

2003

Northern Wave organise the north’s first international multi sport festival at Europride Manchester.

2003

GFC Brighton & Hove formed.

2004

Chris Morgan, Great Britain and England Powerlifter qualifies for first world final and is appointed Gay Games Ambassador.

2004

Cardiff Lions RFC formed.

2004

Ron Newton Britain’s number one sprint hurdler, competes for Team GB at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Newton failed to qualify for the second round of the 110 m hurdles competition. He was the only gay British Olympian that year.

2004

Hotscots FC formed.

2005           

Out for Sport London Hosts ‘The Building Bridges Conference’ that was intended to heal rifts between the Federation of Gay Games and Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association. The event was hosted by Ivan Bussens who helped the two major gay sports governing bodies come together to overcome their differences and discuss the future of gay sports.

2005

Birmingham Blaze formed.

2005           

Northern Wave and Team Manchester launch the first ever ‘Pride Games’, which took place in Manchester and was attended by 750 participants. There has since been Pride Sports events held every year, hosting thousands of athletes from all over the world. Founder of Pride Games Trevor Burchick was awarded an MBE in the new year’s honours list the same year for services to the community of Greater Manchester.

2005

London Titans FC Formed.

2005           

Sir Elton John appointed Gay Games Ambassador.

2005

Bristol Bisons RFC is formed.

2005

Mersey Marauders FC formed.

2006

Nottingham Ball Bois FC is formed.

2006

Newcastle Ravens RFC is formed.

2006

Bristol Cycle Out formed.

2006

London Romans FC formed.

2006

BBC Sports Presenter Clare Balding comes out by marrying partner in civil partnership ceremony.

2006

London Falcons GFC formed.

2006

Trevor Burchick and Lou Englefield form Pride Sports, to deliver future Pride Games and develop LGBT sports in Manchester.

2007

Sion O’conner becomes male co-president of Federation of Gay Games.

2007

John Ameachi, British NBA Basketball Star Comes Out, appointed Gay Games Ambassador, awarded OBE in 2011.

2007

Death of Ivan Bussens, founder of Out for Sport London.

2007

Nigel Owens, International Rugby Referee Comes Out.

2007

The World’s first LGBT Youth Games is held at Pride Games Manchester.

2007           

The English Football Association for the first time forms a Working Group to tackle Homophobia in Soccer. They decided to launch new ground regulations, which ban homophobic abuse on the terraces and give powers to stewards to remove offenders. The following year the Gay community are invited to watch England v Czech Republic football match by The FA.

2008

The Justin Campaign against homophobia in sport is launched in his memory 10 years after his death.

2008

Cardiff Dragons FC formed.

2008

Newcastle Panthers FC Formed.

2008

The first annual LGBT Sports Summit is held in Manchester, launching the UK LGBT Sports Network.

2008

London Pheonix FC formed.

2009

Pride sports host the European Lesbian and Gay Sports Federation (EGLSF) annual assembly and Lou Englefield becomes female co-president of European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation.

2009

Gay Games and GLISA announce their commitment to working towards 1 quadrennial event for 2018 at the Manchester EGLSF general assembly.

2009

Bristol Panthers FC formed.

2009

Trowbridge Tigers FC formed.

2009

Professional rugby player  Gareth Thomas comes out whilst still playing at international level for Wales. He became Wales’s most capped player in 2007 and captained the British Lions during their 2005 tour of South Africa. Gareth’s coming out once again raised the issue of team sports and in particular, raised the questions when there would be a UK footballer to come out of the closet?

2010s

2010

Sheffield Eagles become first semi professional rugby league team to wear an anti-homophobia message in a televised match.

2010

London announces bid for Gay Games 2018.

2010

Wolves Warriors AFC Formed.

2010

Saltire Thisle FC Formed.

2011

Graham Obree, Team Great Britain and Commonwealth Games cyclist comes out.

2011

Aisle Pitter, The founder of Stonewall Football Club is awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List.

2011           

Ben Cohen, Rugby World Cup Winner with England  back in 2003 ‘Comes Out’ as a straight ally to the gay community and launches the Stand up Foundation against homophobic bullying . Ben was recently honoured with a major humanitarian award in the US by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

2011

Claire Harvey, Selected for Great Britain Sitting Volleyball Team.

2011

Birmingham Bulls RFC formed.

2011           

Steven Davies, England Cricketer Comes Out whilst still playing international cricket.  Steven made his debut for England in March 2009 in twenty /twenty cricket and then went on to make his full test debut in October of the same year. He is the first international cricketer to come out as gay.

2011

Bexley Invicta FC formed.

2011 

The Midlands Unity League created, an 11-a-side football league for gay community football clubs in the Midlands founded by Birmingham Blaze FC, Leicester Wildecats FC, Nottingham Ball Bois FC and  Wolverhampton Harts GFC.

2011           

LGBT athletes are invited to Downing Street to launch the government charter against homophobia and transphobia in sport. Billy Jean King, Gareth Thomas and Ben Cohen attended the event, with the Rugby Football League, Rugby Football Union, Lawn Tennis Association, English Cricket Board and the English Football Association all sign up to the charter.

2012        

LGBT History Month for both 2011 and 2012 are for the first time focused on Gay Sports. The launch event for 2011 takes place at Twickenham and is attended by Gareth Thomas and John Ameachi. The launch event for 2012 then takes place at the Oval Cricket ground and is attended by equalities minister Lynne Featherstone and World Champion Powerlifter Chris Morgan.

2012

Premier league football teams sign government’s Charter Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport.

2012

Northampton Outlaws RFC Formed.

2012    

For the first time at a summer games the London Olympics hosted a ‘Pride House’ for gay athletes, officials and spectators to meet and socialise during the Olympic Games.

2012

Nicola Adams came out publicly as Bi Sexual in 2012 after becoming the first woman to win an Olympic Boxing Gold Medal.

2013

Robbie Rogers the former Leeds United winger comes out as Gay. He currently plays as either a winger or as a second striker for LA Galaxy and has also represented the USA national soccer team. Rogers is only the second male footballer in Britain to come out after Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.

2013

Leeds Hornets RFC Formed.

2013

Tom Daley, Great Britain Diver, former World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist comes out as Bi Sexual. He then comes out as gay in April 2014.

2013

Kate Walsh and Helen Richardson, Great Britain Women’s Hockey team mates and Olympic Bronze medalists get married.

2013

Transexual’s In Sport forms to promote Trans Inclusion in Sports in the UK.

2013

Manchester Canalsiders ARLFC form as the World’s first LGBT amateur rugby league club.

2014

Football v Homophobia campaign hits it’s target of 50% or professional clubs taking action to tackle homophobia & transphobia during LGBT history Month, including 16 out of 20 Premier league clubs. 

2014

Clare Balding is the lead BBC presenter for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, amidst protests against Russian anti LGBT propaganda laws.

2014

Pride Sports lead international condemnation and protest against Russian LGBT propaganda laws during the Sochi Olympic Games. Initiatives include Manchester’s Gay Village joining hands during opening ceremony and Great Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner delivering a message of solidarity.

2014

Tomas Hitzlsperger former Aston Villa, West Ham United and Everton Premier League football player comes out as gay in the German press.

2014

Pride Sports help launch the initiative 1QE4ME urging Global LGBT organisations to pursue the goal of one global LGBT Sports Event.

2014

England women’s football captain Casey Stoney reveals she is gay, saying she has been inspired to come out by Olympic diver Tom Daley.

2014

Stonewall Football Club retain their IGLFA World Championship.

2014

Wessex Wyverns RFC formed.

2014

Joanie Evans appointed Female  Co-president of the Federation of Gay Games.

2014

LEAP Sports host a Pride House in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games. 

2014

Mark McAdam  Sky Sports correspondent comes out.

About the author ….

Chris Morgan is the author of the LGBT UK Sports Timeline … 

He is a  seven time world champion, fourteen time British champion and six time Gay Games gold medalist in Powerlifting and a Global Ambassador  to the Federation of Gay Games.  

Chris’s News Blog can be found at www.chunkymuscle.com and you can find out more about Gay Games at www.gaygames.com 

Chris would like to thank both Trevor Burchick and Lou Englefield of Pride Sports for their help and input to this project. You can learn more about Pride Sports online at www.pridesports.org 

The original Infographic and further research by Jonathan Harbourne founder of the London http://www.lgbthistoryuk.org/wiki/index.php?title=London_Raiders 

Follow this link to visit the original version of the LGBT History Month UK Sports timeline  …

http://www.lgbthistoryuk.org/wiki/index.php?title=Timeline_of_LGBT_Sport