So gay! Who has not heard homophobic remarks used as an insult in sports? Even today, even in Western Europe, many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people have negative experiences in sport—from bullying in school, to coming across anti-LGBTQ* language down the pub, on social media, on or off the pitch. They can feel that they are not welcome and that sport is not a safe place for them to be.
In 2005, my now wife Karen Ruddock together with a friend, Stephen Park, started the London Royals Hockey Club. They wanted to create a community and inclusive space where people from different backgrounds could come together and find friends, fun and support. A club open to ALL, not just the LGBTQ* community, to all abilities and regardless of background.
The London Royals Hockey Club today is a community of over 350 players who are active on a monthly basis plus many more who have since moved away from London and all over the world and still feel part of the family and join occasionally for tours or events. Some even started their own inclusive clubs.
We particularly welcome complete beginners and we have a hardship fund in place so that anyone who wants to play can play. We provide a supportive environment, to inspire confidence and where everyone feels welcome. Mixed games and socials are at the very core of the club. Inclusivity has also made us exceptionally diverse in age (currently from 20 to 65) and ethnicity, and our members come from all over the world. This club is a family for many, for those that are rejected, for those that feel like they don’t fit, for those who just want to play sports and make friends.