‘Decisions are being made without knowing the reality’ – watch Trans Inclusion in Grassroots Sport panel discussion

'Decisions are being made without knowing the reality' - watch Trans Inclusion in Grassroots Sport panel discussion

  • Now available to watch for free - in-depth panel chat exploring the impact of policies limiting the participation of trans people in sport
  • Hear from Simon Croft (Gendered Intelligence), Naomi Reid (Charlton Invicta FC / NBCUniversal), Vixx Thompson (TransFitter / Pride House Birmingham Advisory Board member) and Claudia Krobitzsch (German FA)
  • Panel chaired by Michelle Daltry (LGBT Sport Cymru and Inclusive Employers)

By Jon Holmes

Decision makers in sport are being urged to engage in more constructive dialogue with trans people themselves in determining their respective inclusion policies.

In a wide-ranging discussion held at Pride House Birmingham, the mounting challenges faced by the trans community when attempting to access grassroots sport were explored by an expert panel consisting of:

  • Simon Croft, Director of Professional and Educational Services, Gendered Intelligence
  • Naomi Reid, Employee Experience Specialist, NBCUniversal; Charlton Invicta FC
  • Claudia Krobitzsch, Diversity Manager, Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB)
  • Vixx Thompson, Director, Trans Fitness C.I.C and a member of the Pride House Birmingham Advisory Board

The conversation was chaired by Michelle Daltry of LGBT Sport Cymru and Inclusive Employers and is now available to watch in full on YouTube.

Zooming in live was Krobitzsch, who recently helped the German FA launch a new national policy that will allow trans, non-binary and intersex footballers to choose which gendered team they play on. The DFB oversees approximately 25,000 football clubs across the country.

She was asked about the concept that sport should be inherently fair in comparison to the reality of sport in practice.

"What is this fairness? Because if I play basketball - I'm very short - and the other women, I mean cis women, they are all two hats taller than me.

“Is that fair or is that not fair? It's totally fine for them to be taller than me, but I would never say that's unfair because that's my problem. That's why I don't play basketball.

“So why would it then be unfair if a trans woman were playing in my women's team and they will be faster than me, or maybe they can pass the ball with more power? If she's a woman, then she can be stronger or faster and that's fine.

“That's why it's a team sport. It's always women's bodies that are being regulated, it's never men's bodies.”
The panellists were also asked what they wished sports organisations and governing bodies knew more of when devising their policies.

Croft said: "There is so much around women constrained by the same old stereotypes and tropes and narratives, and actually just learning something about the reality of trans life - that would go a long way."

Invicta player Reid echoed the call for education, emphasising how interacting with trans people themselves in a bid to find solutions that keep community members active was her main ask.

"A lot of the people making these decisions have probably never met a trans person, or they don't really know much about us,” she said.

“Tthey make these decisions for us and on behalf of us, and it severely impacts our ability to enjoy sport."

An attempt at empathy has to be a prerequisite, says Thompson.

"A lot of these decisions and expectations are coming through lack of knowledge, and lack of education,” he added.

“I just wish they could perhaps live a day as a trans person, or even someone who's in the middle of transitioning, and literally having to come to terms with everything, because they'd potentially think differently about the decisions they are making.

“But because they don't have the lived experience that we do, they are making assumptions based on knowledge that they don't have, for a situation they are not personally in, making it more difficult for people they’ve never met."

Pride House Birmingham (PHB) - above The Loft Bar & Kitchen at 143 Bromsgrove St - will continue to welcome guests for the duration of the Commonwealth Games, up to and including Monday, August 8.

A busy programme of exhibitions, activities, performances, screenings and entertainment is supplemented by viewing opportunities in the main bar and cafe (sober space) of live sport at Birmingham 2022.

Pride House Birmingham is for everyone! Connect on social media at @pridehousebham on InstagramTwitterFacebook and TikTok.

Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver and Amy Jones in Team England jackets with Progress Pride badges (image: @natsciver on Instagram)

From left to right: Michelle Daltry, Simon Croft, Naomi Reid, Vixx Thompson and Claudia Krobitzsch

Notes for Editors

  • Pride House Birmingham (PHB) is a project and venue dedicated to LGBTIQ+ inclusion, diversity and culture at Birmingham 2022.
  • The main Pride House is located in the heart of the city’s Gay Village, above The Loft Bar & Kitchen at 143 Bromsgrove St. It opened before the start of the Commonwealth Games and will continue to welcome guests for the duration of the multi-sports event up to and including Monday 8 August.
  • Pride Houses have been established at many sporting events around the world since 2010. Visitors include competing athletes, fans and spectators, VIPs, and people fulfilling other roles in the event itself. A busy programme of exhibitions, activities, performances, screenings and entertainment is supplemented by viewing opportunities of live sport.
  • At Birmingham 2022, and for the first time in Commonwealth Games history, the Pride House is fully integrated with a presence in the Athletes Villages, ensuring wider awareness of its ‘Celebrate, Participate, Educate’ ethos. An ongoing series of Pride House workshops has been delivered to local schools in recent months, funded by the Commonwealth Sport Foundation.
  • PHB is being championed by a group of athlete Ambassadors, five of which are competing at Birmingham 2022 - Team England duo Stacey Francis-Bayman (netball) and Tom Bosworth (athletics); Scotland wheelchair basketball stars Robyn Love and Jude Hamer; and India sprinter Dutee Chand. The other Ambassadors are former Jamaica and Great Britain swimmer Michael Gunning; global advocate and inclusion expert Amazin LeThi, a former professional bodybuilder; and the two-time Paralympic gold medal-winning rower Lauren Rowles, who competed for England in para athletics at Glasgow 2014.
  • The venue is supported by main sponsors E.ON, PWC, DXC Technology and LSH Autos.


Pride House Birmingham featured on the official Birmingham 2022 website - https://www.birmingham2022.com/news/2556327/pride-house-birmingham-will-explore-diversity-across-the-commonwealth

More content on Sports Media LGBT+ - https://sportsmedialgbt.com/tag/pride-house 

Pride House International - http://www.pridehouseinternational.org/

Social media

Twitter - https://twitter.com/PrideHouseBham

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/pridehousebham/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PrideHouseBham

TikTok - https://www.tiktok.com/@pridehousebham

Contacts available for interview

Neil Basterfield
(Pride House Birmingham exec team)
Jon Holmes (PHB media)