39: Lou Englefield – Director of Pride Sports UK, Campaign Director of Football v Homophobia, Fare Network board member & sports activist.

February 1, 2021

The incredible story of the purposeful, passionate and energetic Lou Englefield who’s drive and determination is clear to see. Lou wants to make a difference in whatever she does and it has been both hugely rewarding yet at times a great slog. The power of sport as a vehicle to engage with inclusion and wider human rights issues is clear to see.

This is a must listen. It wont fail to make you think. It’s a deep and very honest insight into the meandering journey Lou took in exploring who she is in the world and how she now turns up! I only wish we had more time!

Below is a more descriptive overview of the involvement Lou has in making a difference through sport and physical activity as an incredibly strong advocate for inclusion.

Lou Englefield is a founding Director of Pride Sports, a UK LGBTIQ+ sports development and inclusion organisation. Lou has been a leading voice on LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport & physical activity across Europe for more than 10 years.  She has directed the international Football v Homophobia campaign since 2012, holds a board position on FARE Network and is Co-Chair of Pride House International. Lou presents and speaks on issues of LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport and physical activity globally and has ensured that Pride Sports has become a leading authority on LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport and physical activity, at the forefront of insight, policy and practice. 

 

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Success Quote or saying:

Meandered through life…

My father created a competitive culture in which I grew up

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” Steve Jobs.

Working in sport and Human rights has been my happiest work time

I saw and experienced the social injustice play out

Came out at the age of 20-21 yrs

The desire to want to also have a family

It took me a number of years to consider and explore what possibilities were and are available to me in life. (14 – early/mid 20’s)

Average age of coming out is now 15/16yrs old due to less ‘shame’ and ‘silence’ attached.

I got feminism at University. Studies Sociology.

We were ‘misfits’ and gravitated to each other.

Did lots of Volunteering which then lead to paid roles

Women’s centre admin to housing and homelessness.

The common theme was ‘I wanted to do things that made a difference’.

Joined Hockey team at University but found it really difficult. Don’t ask and don’t tell kind of atmosphere!

With analysis and understanding I can make sense

The ‘difference’ between ‘sport lesbians’ and ‘feminist lesbians’

The ability just to BE. We were able just to be.

Things change in the world of work…so I asked myself what can I do that would get my mojo back?

I was getting drawn into sport.

City tournaments all around Europe – sport events for LGBT community  (Pride Games)

Enthusiastic and inspired by new ideas. We have always got great ideas here…! (Football v Homophobia)

If I believe in something I will run with the idea

The coming together of ‘art’ and ‘sport’

It has not been an easy gig. It has been a slog at times.

It is important for me as a person to be not ‘too much in my head’

I need to be grounded in some getting my hands dirty as a person

I am lucky to have a wide diversity of roles (filling envelopes to opening conferences)

I have been doing it so long now I can see the changes

It is really nice to be thanked

Moved from feeling threatened to working alongside

During the hard times I pull myself through by talking to people – getting perspective.

There is nothing as brilliant as getting out of breath.

Ground breaker?  We have broken ground….!

The threat is that we are quite an invisible minority.

We are living in strange times. Some countries have gone backwards in terms of Human Rights

Conscious of the reversibility of inclusion and human rights

We will always be a minority and fight for our voices to be heard

Football v Homophobia month of action (February)

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. We can get caught up as leaders and coaches NOT asking for help and support.

I will look back on this conversation and will have definitely got something from it myself

 

Quick fire questions:

What resources would you recommend?

The best resources we have are the people around us. Talking things through always gives just the most amazing perspectives

 

Some people read lots of books – I am not one of those types of people

 

What advice would you give to your teenage version of yourself?

Take a big deep breath.

You will grow into yourself and therefore don’t panic

It will all be alright

You are more resilient than you know

Trust and enjoy the process of developing

 

Whos’ Sport Story would you be really interested in hearing?

Veronica Ivory – Canadian Transgender cyclist

 

Coaching questions I would like to pose:

1

How do the dot join up or join back in order for you to make sense of your life so far to inform your future?

2

When have you been in a minority group or community? How did you feel? I wonder what it would be like considering the perspective from both the majority and minority perspective? What may you do differently as a result?

 

Contact info:

Email – Info@pridesports.org.uk

Website: www.pridesports.org.uk   and  www.Footballvhomophobia.com

Twitter: @pridesports, @fvhtweets  and  @LouEnglefield

LinkedIn: lou-englefield

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