Across the United Kingdom, from Dunnet Head to Lizard Point, across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England, the baseball and softball community have joined together with a simple message of inclusivity: If you can play, you can play.
In partnership with the international sports-based LGBTQ+ organisation You Can Play, BaseballSoftballUK– led by Luis Arrevillagas and the BSUK LGBTQ+ panel - has created a You Can Play pledge video, with members of the community pledging to make the sports as inclusive and open as possible. The video, in the style of many others done by You Can Play’s supporters and allies, is a small, but important, way of showing the LGBTQ+ community that they are welcome and supported by those who current participate in the sports.
The following players, staff, coaches, and volunteers have lent their voice and support to the You Can Play pledge:
- Jess Vernon, Great Britain Baseball & Belles Baseball Club
- Thomas Heywood, International Baseball Umpire
- Drew Spencer, Great Britain Baseball
- Will Lintern, Great Britain Baseball
- Amanda “Doris” Hocking, WB-UK
- Alyson Spinas-Valainis, BaseballSoftballUK & Great Britain Softball
- Amie Hutchison, Great Britain Softball
- Kellie Whitaker, Great Britain Softball
- Matt Tomlin, Great Britain Softball
- Luis Arrevillagas, BaseballSoftballUK & Great Britain Softball
- Chris Knoblock, BaseballSoftballUK & Great Britain Baseball
- Ieuan Gale, President of the British Softball Federation
- Tom Thornhill, President of the British Baseball Federation
- John Boyd, CEO of BaseballSoftballUK
The video was edited and produced by Kris Hadwin, a member of the British softball community based in Manchester.
Along with a video created by the Elite Ice Hockey League, this is one of the first You Can Play videos created in the UK as well as in Europe, and continues BSUK’s ever-growing commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion. In addition, BSUK’s work with the LGBTQ+ community, which includes partnerships with You Can Play, Pride Tape, Pride Sport UK, and Pride House Birmingham, will be expanding this year to include three bespoke LGBTQ+ Softball Tournaments across England, with a new tournament at a new location to be added in each succeeding year.
Commenting on the project, Luis Arrevillagas said, “I'm very excited to see the whole community getting behind our inclusion pledge. We have two of the most inclusive sports, we can change lives using them, so why not do it? We want everyone in our baseball and softball communities to shout to their friends that they can join our fun, exciting and friendly sports in any manner they want. If you want to play, you can play with us!”
Lou Englefield from Pride Sports added, “Visible allies in sport matter in 2022. So it’s great to see this You Can Play welcome message from players, coaches and workforce members across UK baseball and softball. This is another fantastic initiative from BaseballSoftballUK on their LGBTQ+ inclusion journey. Congratulations to everyone involved."
BaseballSoftballUK encourages clubs, leagues, and teams across the UK to make their own You Can Play support pledge video – all you need is a smartphone, willing participants, and a way to edit the video. If you need or want any help in creating a video, email Luis here.
The British baseball and softball community are united: If you can play, you can play.