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IDAHOBIT 2019, with GMB North West & IRISH Region.

IDAHOBIT 2019, with GMB North West & IRISH Region.

May 17th every year is International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia.
For many years in Germany, May 17 had been unofficially given the labeled as a sort of "Gay Day." Written in the date format 17.5., it had a natural affinity with Paragraph 175 of the Penal Code, the rule dealing with homosexuality. 

The IDAHOBIT day, as a concept, was conceived in 2004. Frenchman Louis-Georges Tin was founder of the day, and acted as its Committee Chairperson until his resignation in September 2013. The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The date exists as both a Worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities, and to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

For 2019, JUST A BALL GAME? teamed up with trade union GMB as the North West and Irish region supported our event day at The Manchester College (TMC).

Equality, Inclusion and Diversity runs through the heartbeat of GMB trade union membership in workplaces and also within the movement itself. Recently the NW&I region has set up a self organised group (SOG) for members who identify as LGBT+ and also their allies, to drive forward this equality strand under their mission statement:

Through education we will raise awareness
Through campaigning we will challenge
Through tolerance we can be #StrongerTogether.

The group comes under the banner of GMB SHOUT! North West.

JUST A BALL GAME? and GMB NW&I partnered to spend the day at TMC Openshaw Campus where they delivered 2 presentations on LGBT+ inclusion and diversity, tutoring on how to effectively challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and abuse to over 40 students and tutors. There was also a basic introduction to the trade union work that is delivered locally for members, why young people are being encouraged to know their rights in the workplace, and how equality strands are supported. 

Alongside of this both organizations hosted a stall featuring JBG?’s ‘TIME FOR ACTION’ exhibition panels and resources were handed out to staff and young people in attendance. Pledges were signed and ‘selfie boards’ shared to support the college initiatives for the day.

GMB NW&I region Equality Officer Lisa Ryan had the following to share on behalf of the partnership work for IDAHOBIT 2019:

“Here at the GMB we believe that equality should be at the heart of everything we do so it is vitally important to use dates such as this (IDAHOBIT) to really push home the equality message.”

“It's great to work alongside a grassroots campaign like Just a Ball Game? who promote awareness against homophobia/biphobia/transphobia and call out hate and intolerance, not just one day a year but all year round.”

“Our Regional Equality Forum, and LGBT+ Shout! North West group are proud to support Just a Ball Game? and the sterling work they do.”


Published on - Sun, 19 May 2019

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                        #STRONGERTOGETHER- WEMBLEY STADIUM    

On Tuesday 5th February JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) held #StrongerTogether their first ever seminar, as part of LGBT History Month 2019 celebrations. 

The event was hosted by The FA, whose chairman Greg Clarke mixed with delegates and the day was supported by UCFB, GMB Trade Union, KICK IT OUT (FFD), The Professional Footballers’ Association,and The National Lottery Community Fund.
Over ninety people gathered to hear speakers and guest panellists from a wide sector, all who had partnered with JBG? over the previous eight years. 

Two of JBG?’s patrons Adam McCabe and Neville Southall were speakers alongside former Women’s Football Association‘s Patricia Gregory, Bradford Labour councillor Richard Dunbar and Merseyside Police ACC, Julie Cooke, while K2 Collective provided the ‘half time’ entertainment.

One of the events presenters’ actor Kieran Hardcastle said, "The #StrongerTogether event provided a long overdue opportunity for key voices up and down the country to discuss pressing issues from the LGBT+ community, against the backdrop of the home of football, Wembley Stadium.”
“It is absolutely imperative that this wonderful forum of individuals, groups and associations continue to work and expand with JBG? and alongside each other, helping to nurture and develop the key messages of education and visibility. After-all continued visibility could eventually lead to a normalised culture for those that are not a part of it, and normalisation in turn starts to play a part in the way of acceptance. I look forward to seeing this implemented from the top down."

“Attending the Just a ball game? (JBG?) #StrongerTogether conference, was both inspiring and educational. With panel discussions, breakout sessions and numerous remarkable speakers the day really was one I’m glad I didn’t miss. It was quite evident early on that the #StrongerTogether theme was important, at a time when the country feels so divided.

Although the day was peppered with well known faces from the world of sport, my personal highlights were the talks from Merseyside Police Sgt Christian Owens, whose story of his transition offered an insight into life as a LGBT+ Police officer and was both inspiring and tear jerking.” Steve -Notts County’s LGBT Pies.

Alan Mercel-Sanca, JBG? Male Co-Chair, has this to say, “Our JBG? #StrongerTogether event will be seen as a turning point in the UK in sport and beyond where partnerships of dynamic kinds developed or became further consolidated. The spirit of the event was a 'can do, will do' one in which realisation of building a strong thriving inclusive society in which prejudice and its evils have a real sell by date coming, manifested through the realisation that this is only possible through the vision and character of real meaningful partnerships making us all- LGBT+, Allies, BME, #StrongerTogether! “ 

“The passion, the collective wisdom, expertise of all attending or speaking at this exceptional event was inspiring, and totally rooted in practical solutions, focus, real partnerships, not tokenistic ones, - JBG? #StrongerTogether sets the pattern for meaningful change. On that thousands upon thousands who could not attend or who were unaware of the event, will look back later with thanks and admiration for what was achieved on 5th Feb 2019! “


Published on - Sun, 10 Feb 2019


JUST A BALL GAME?                                     MEDIA RELEASE- For immediate release.                                       



On the eve of our eighth birthday, JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) proudly announce their first ever seminar #STRONGERTOGETHER  which will be hosted by The Football Association (FA) at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday 5th February 2019.

The event is supported by GMB Trade Union, The Professional Footballers’ Association, UCFB, KIO and others, and will see a day of interactive workshops, networking, guest panel speakers from football clubs, fan groups, players, referees, coaches, education establishments, the police, media, and other sports organisations coming together to showcase the great partnership work done in collaboration with JBG? 

Further details on this free, event will be released shortly. Tickets will be booked via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/strongertogether-tickets-52180212420

Confirmed speakers to include referee Lucy Clark, football coach Luke Tuffs, FA Youth Council member Amrit Singh Bains, former TUC Policy Officer Dr Peter Purton and former Women’s FA Hon. Ass. Secretary Patricia Gregory.

"Delighted that this event is taking place, and at Wembley. It justifies years of hard work at  grass roots to raise the issue of anti-LGBT+ prejudice in football, and I am honored to have been asked to take part". Dr Peter Purton, TUC LGBT/disability officer (retired).

Keeley Baptista, Kick It Out Programmes Manager, said: “Just A Ball Game? have worked tirelessly for LGBT+ inclusion in football since 2010 and we’re proud to be a long-term supporter of their work.
 “The #StrongerTogether relaunch at Wembley promises to be an important day of discussion and workshops on LGBT+ issues, and we look forward to seeing how JGB? use it to build on their successes over the last 8 years.”

Lucy Clark says: “I love the work that Just A Ball Game? do and fully support them. Football and all sports should be enjoyed by everyone and just because a person is a member of the LGBT+ community they should still continue doing what they love without prejudice.”

“ As someone who very nearly gave up doing something I love because I am transgender, I appreciate the work the Just A Ball Game? are doing as quitting should not have even crossed my mind. I am honored to have been invited to talk at this event and look forward to meeting you all.”

Amrit Singh Bains had this to say,” It’s an absolute honor to attend the day  as a guest speaker. I am really humbled for this opportunity to use the game of football to unite, inspire and empower our communities.”


Contact for further information: info@justaballgame.co.uk 
Founder-Lindsay England

Published on - Fri, 09 Nov 2018




On November 9th 2018 here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we will be celebrating our eighth  birthday and ahead of this we are very pleased to announce that our Challenging Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Award this year has gone to Merseyside Police.

Over the past twelve months we have teamed up with the North West force for a number of LGBT+ inclusion meetings, presentations and events and also looked at ways for them to integrate our resources in to their officer briefings and training.

Here at JBG? we use football and other sports as a tool to help educate around LGBT+ visibility and inclusion alongside challenging HBT abuse and behavior and this has helped inspire the constabulary to look at new ways of communicating and reaching out to the local community in the hope in turn members of the public will engage and trust officers more to deal with hate crime when it is reported.

JBG? now hope that other police forces across the country will now also look to partnering with the LGBT+ campaign organisation and team up to do similar work.

The award presentation was made to the Merseyside Police Community Engagement Unit who were grateful and proud to receive an acknowledgement of the newly formed partnership working with JBG? 

Inspector John Sacker said, “Today, Merseyside Police are very pleased to be presented with an award from Lindsay England, founder of JUST A BALL GAME? for their engagement and collaboration during 2018.”


Published on - Wed, 31 Oct 2018

JBG? media release - “ TRANS KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.”



                   “ TRANS KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.”

So much is being thrown around about the reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, and also trans inclusion in such a negative way.
Here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we wanted to put our weight behind our trans brothers, sisters, friends, colleagues , strangers, and also those who may identify as non-binary, gender neutral or other, and show some love and support by issuing “Trans Kids Are Alright” laces.
Our patron Sophie Cook, alongside our friends at GMB Union/ Kick It Out/ Fans For Diversity/ have backed the initiative to raise awareness and visibility by wearing our pink and blue laces.
We have also been given the support of Dawn Butler, Labour MP Brent Central and Shadow SOS for Women & Equalities for this initiative.
Sandie Maile, co-chair GMB Shout! London region shows support:  "GMB Shout! the union's self-organised group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* + members, fully supports equality for trans* people and we are happy to endorse this campaign by Just a Ball Game?"
Brian Shaw,  Chair of GMB London Regional Equality Forum says: “GMB Shout! welcome this initiative, trans rights are human rights and changes to the gender recognition act need to be supported. Join GMB Shout! campaign’s - gmbshout.net”

Sophie Cook JBG? Patron has these words: “  “With the increasing levels of anti-trans prejudice that we are seeing in some quarters it is more important than ever to stand united in support of transgender rights. Trans people are disproportionately likely to suffer with mental health issues due to the abuse and discrimination that they receive so every sign of solidarity helps to show them that there are more people that believe in equality and love than those that seek to spread hate. I love this initiative from Just A Ball Game? And urge everyone to get behind the campaign and show that trans rights are human rights.”

Kick It Out.
Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, said: “The trans community are an important part of football and we were pleased to recognise that by appointing Sophie as our first transgender ambassador in 2016.”
“Just A Ball Game? do vital work supporting LGBT participants in the game and we are delighted to throw our support behind their pink and blue laces campaign to promote trans inclusion.”
JBG? have a limited number of the laces available and those who donate a minimum of £5 to JBG? via our website and social media links, will receive a pair of laces (while stocks last and inclusive of P+P) and a free JBG? badge. 
Please show your support for trans inclusion and wear pink and blue to let everyone know: “ Trans Kids Are Alright.”

Published on - Wed, 01 Aug 2018