“Sports industry and the LGBTQ+ community: an inevitable embrace” – with Joanie Evans & Shiv Paul

A study by trend forecasting agency J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group found that only 48 percent of 13 to 20-year-olds identify as “exclusively heterosexual”. What do these numbers mean to the sports industry? They reveal, for instance, that possibly half of the current young athletes won’t feel at home in a heteronormative industry. They also show that the future landscape of Olympic Games and of any major sports event will have to change. But is the sports industry preparing itself for that? This is the scenario that will inspire our next SportWorks TALK with Joanie Evans and Shiv Paul, respectively Co-President and Vice President of External Affairs of The Federation of Gay Games. From the history of LGBTQ+ activism in sports to the creation and the political relevance of the Gay Games, they will share data and case studies that makes the case for the inevitable partnership between the sports industry and the LGBTQ+ community.

Joanie Evans is a footballer who founded the Hackney Women’s Football Club which was the first ‘out’ team in Europe. Joanie competed with the team in the 1994 Gay Games in New York, and has since been to 7 Games – 2 as Co-President. In 2019, she was a top ten nominee for ‘Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life’ in the British LGBT Awards and is the recipient of an Administration Award from the Football Black List. In 2013 Joanie was part of the London team bidding to host Gay Games X in 2018. Paris won that bid in 2013 and in that year Joanie was elected to served as Co-President of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG). She is based in North London.

Shiv Paul is the Vice President of External Affairs for The Federation of Gay Games, overseeing Marketing, Communications, and the Ambassador Program, having previously served as Officer of Communications. Shiv’s sport is tennis and he also currently serves as a Board Councilor for the Lawn Tennis Association, and, when living in New York, served as Vice Chair of the D&I Committee for the United States Tennis Association. He is now based in Surrey UK and is the founder of Caprihan Consulting, caprihanconsulting.com, a D&I strategy and training, change management and coaching consultancy.

This talk was hosted by Nikki Symmons, Irish hockey player and social media content specialist. Niiki is also Ambassador for Valencia Gay Games 2026 bid.

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