Out for Sport is a grass roots, all-volunteer organisation run by London’s LGBT sports clubs. This Wednesday (19 Apr) the team host their Annual Sports Fair, giving you the chance to meet various clubs and even join up. Committee member Fabian Valencia explains more.
Out for Sport London (OFS) was founded after the Gay Games V in Amsterdam in 1998, with the aim of bringing together London’s LGBT sports clubs and promoting participation in sport amongst the LGBT community. Since then, OFS has organised many events and is now established as the grass roots organisation that acts as an umbrella group for the sports teams and helps them to grow.
In 2012 and 2013, OFS was the key player in bidding to bring the Gay Games to London in 2018, coming second to Paris. OFS regularly organises cross-club social events and sport fairs, and in the future aims to offer training and networking events that help clubs to grow.
We’re really lucky to have one of the most diverse range of LGBT clubs of any city in the world. There are more than 40 active LGBT+ sports clubs in London, nearly all of whom accept total beginners and most offer options for all genders. So even if you’ve never played a sport before, you can get involved in everything from football and rugby through to synchronised swimming. Likewise, many of our clubs compete at a regional or national level, so if you’ve played before but are looking to get back into sport, there are plenty of options on offer. OFS is an umbrella group, so everyone who gets involved has generally played for one of the member clubs first, and anyone from the clubs can get involved. I was a member of the Out Play Squash club for a long time before getting involved in OFS five years ago.
Being part of OFS gives me the opportunity to meet people from lots of different sports, and you get an idea about all the great things that are going on with other groups so you can share ideas and experiences. On the committee there are people from dance, swimming, volleyball and hockey to name but a few. We also have representatives on the Federation of Gay Games and on Pride so we get to hear about exciting events coming up.
The LGBT+ Annual Sports Fair, which takes place this Wednesday (19 Apr), is an opportunity for anyone to come along, meet the clubs, find out a bit more information about where and how they train, and hopefully find a club to join.
Each club will have a stand, and there’ll be plenty of women and men from each club around to answer any questions. So far we’ve got more than 25 clubs attending, representing the following sports: badminton, bowling, climbing, cricket, cycling, dance, dragon boating, golf, hockey, ju jitsu, rowing, rugby, running, softball, squash, swimming, synchro and water polo. You can also find out a bit more about the 10th Gay Games, which will be held in Paris next year, and how you can take part.
The LGBT+ Annual Sports Fair is on this Wednesday
(19 Apr) from 6.30pm at London Southbank University, 103 Borough Road, SE1 0AA. Visit facebook.com/OutForSport and outforsport.wordpress.com for more.
Free book giveaway at Gay’s the Word
Next Sunday (23 Apr), as part of World Book Night – the annual celebration of reading – Gay’s the Word bookshop in Bloomsbury will be giving away copies of Paul McVeigh’s award-winning novel The Good Son.
Simply drop by the store – found at 66 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB – next weekend to pick up your free copy, subject to availability.
Gay’s the Word is open Monday to Saturday from 10am until 6.30pm, and for next Sunday only the store will from 4pm until 8pm (usual Sunday hours are 2pm until 6pm). See gaystheword.co.uk for more details.
Dive into summer
The London gay swimming group Goslings, which has been operating a weekly swim at Oasis heated outdoor pool in Covent Garden for over 30 years, is back at the venue for weekly meets from next Thursday (20 Apr).
Part of the Gay Outdoor Club, this weekly social swim welcomes all levels of experience for slow, medium and fast lane swimming. Entry is £6 for Gay Outdoor Club or £7 for guests – see goc.org.uk/groups/goslings for more details.
Land-based training with the London Otters Rowing Club
Gay men’s rowing team the London Otters meet at the Foundry at the Black Prince Community Hub in Vauxhall this and next Thursday for Mid-Week Land Training sessions.The hour-long sessions start at 8.15pm sharp and include Olympic lifting and CrossFit-inspired workouts using barbells, kettlebells and more. Classes are suitable for everyone and the team can scale all movements to individual abilities, plus entry’s just £5 (londonotters.org).