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LGBTQ+ Employee Network aims to boost allyship in cricket after first game-wide virtual session

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month co-chair of the ECB’s LGBTQ+ Employee Network, Hen Cowen, hosted the first LGBTQ+ Game Live panel on LinkedIn and YouTube to promote inclusion in cricket.

Guests included Manchester Originals’ Fi Morris, Gloucestershire CCC physiotherapist Chris Powell, Out4Cricket co-founders Lachlan Smith and Leo Skyner, and grassroots cricketer Amelia Short.

Members of Proud Surrey and ECB staff marching together at Pride London 2022
Members of Proud Surrey and ECB staff marching at Pride London 2022 – Credit: ECB

Cowen, who co-chairs alongside Surrey CCC’s Emily Iveson-Pritchard, said: “This is not just an ECB group, this is a group across the entire game of cricket, both professional and recreational.”

“We exist to influence positive change within cricket. As members of the LGBTQ+ community we want to represent people in cricket.

“We want to put pressure on the people making decisions. We also want to be a safe space for everybody in the game.”

Discussion led on the lived experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and it is hoped increasing awareness of such issues will support employees, organisations and clubs to improve their allyship.

Co-founder of Out4Cricket Lachlan Stephen-Smith, an organisation promoting LGBTQ+ inclusivity in cricket, spoke on the importance of education for recreational and professional cricket clubs.

“For many clubs they just don’t know where to start, so we can go in and help them start that conversation about the experiences of LGBTQ+ people. To get them thinking, to stop and pause, get a better understanding and take action.

“Being inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community actually means you’re probably that inclusive to all other communities as well, which will then just help grow the game which is fantastic,” said Stephen-Smith.

Fans at Surrey CCC's Pride Match in 2023
Credit: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Surrey CCC)

Warrington Cricket Club’s Amelia Short, who recently shared her story as a transgender cricketer spoke on her experiences at the grassroots level.

“I felt trapped at school because it was a tough environment and not one where I felt like who I was. Having sport on the weekends felt so freeing to be with people who understood.

“My coach has been very supportive of me. It was really heartwarming the way Warrington CC was very accepting and they treated me as a person. It doesn’t matter who I am and we are all there to play cricket at the end of the day.”

Powell, who spoke about his journey on BBC Sport’s LGBTQ+ Sport podcast with Jack Murley, and professional cricketer Morris also shared their personal experiences as LGBTQ+ individuals.

“I feel like we have come a long way since my school years under Section 28 legislation and I’m pleased to be where I am now, but it still feels like there is a long way to go.

“You come out once but then we come out every day again and again and it is always an evolving picture,” said Powell.

Fi Morris celebrating a wicket with Manchester Originals
Credit: Getty Images for ECB

“I’ve been incredibly lucky to grow up in a cricketing environment and a very accepting family and accepting friends. I used to work in a physio clinic and remember a couple times mentioning I had a partner and my patient assumed it was my boyfriend and I didn’t correct them for the next six months,” Morris told the LGBTQ+ Game Live.

“To me having those role models really mattered. Nat and Katherine Sciver-Brunt speaking to openly about being married and being together was inspirational for me.”

“The more we can talk about it and it become more accepting, hopefully next time someone assumes I have a boyfriend I’ll be quicker to correct them,” said Morris.

The LGBTQ+ Employee Network is one of five game-wide groups (Disability in Cricket, Race in Cricket, Social Mobility and Women in Cricket) created to make cricket more equitable, diverse and inclusive.

Ahead of the next 12 months the group aims to fulfil its objectives of growing cricket’s LGBTQ+ community and promoting LGBTQ+ allyship through ongoing Events, Education and Engagement.


  • Evie Ashton

    Evie is a sports journalist specialising in features covering social issues & underrepresented groups in sport with bylines in BBC Sport, Sky Sports, and The Cricketer. Looking to highlight voices of (but not limited to) female, queer, or disabled sportspersons. Get in touch if you have a story!