Various sports clubs have come forward to oppose homophobic behaviour, following an incident where members of some clubs booed the announcement of a Pride event.
Students attending last week’s Blue Bar’s sports night event on Wednesday 22 November reported that the DJ’s announcement of tonight’s ‘Sports Night Does Colours’ night in the LCR was met with boos.
The night is a collaborative event between UEA Pride and UEA sports clubs.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Concrete: “Just before the end of the night the DJ said that the next sports night would be in the LCR which made people cheer. But when the crowd were told this was because the event was in conjunction with Pride a few of [the people in the audience] booed.”
The attendee added: “As a gay sportsman I felt unwelcome and also upset that this was still happening at UEA in 2017.”
Commenting on the reports of booing, SU Activities and Opportunities officer Camille Koosyial said those who booed make up a “tiny minority” of sports players, and the upcoming Colours event will still be a “great night that almost every club is proudly building for on social media”.
Ms. Koosyial said: “It’s true that last week a tiny minority of attendees at Sports Night sounded unhappy at the news that we’d be combining with Pride Colours- and given neither I nor the student sports exec thought that was a representative reaction, we held a meeting to make sure we weren’t kidding ourselves about diversity and to ensure people understood what we’re trying to achieve.”
Concrete understands an emergency meeting was held immediately after reports of the booing, which had in attendance a representative from every sports club at UEA as well as UEA Pride. Since then, several sports clubs have come out to show their support for the Sports Night Does Colours event.
UEA Ballet tweeted: “[Homophobic] behaviour is deeply disturbing and although Ballet did not attend this night, it is important to say that hate and discrimination against anyone will not be tolerated in UEA Ballet.
“In support of Pride and LGBT+ students at UEA, we would love for many of you to show your support at the next sport’s night.”
— UEA Ballet (@UEABallet) November 26, 2017
Speaking to Concrete, UEA Ballet Equality and Diversity officer Rebecca Goodall added: “Ballet as a sport has a long history in support of the Pride movement, as a society, we were deeply saddened by what happened at sports night and we have made it clear that we fully support the LGBT+ community.
“We have reached out to our members, asking for them to show their support on Wednesday night, and by filling the studio with colour at our next Saturday classes.”
UEA Cricket Club have also come forward in support of the event.
Harry Bailey, the president of the club, said they “fully support the LGBT+ event and all who attend should do so in a spirit of respect and comradeship.
Anyone who booed should recognise that their actions were disrespectful and offensive.”
Mae Kabore, the Open Place LGBT+ Officer for the SU said: “For some reason we’ve historically tended to believe that being a team sportsperson and being LGBT+ are mutually exclusive.
“Here at UEA we know that’s nonsense, so just as we celebrated women in sport last week with This Girl Can sports night, we’re excited that on Wednesday we’ll be bringing together two of UEA’s biggest social events to demonstrate that student sport and being LGBT+ definitely do mix.”
Union officer Camille Koosyial added: “[The SU] are hoping to demonstrate that at UEA we understand that creating inclusive sporting environments is everyone’s responsibility- and that making sport everyone’s game can’t rest on the shoulders of LGBT+ people alone”