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Pride in Cricket: improving visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the game

Proud Surrey founder Sam Schofield recaps a special night at The Oval, and talks plans to develop a national supporters' group for LGBTQ+ fans.

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Pride in Cricket: improving visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the game

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

I am gay and I love cricket. More specifically Surrey County Cricket Club. Around a year ago, it dawned on me that there were no LGBTQ+ supporters’ groups within cricket in England. Taking inspiration from work within football and specifically Harlequins within rugby, I thought it was about time cricket provided a supporter group network for the LGBTQ+ community. Having spoken to people at Graces CC and Birmingham Unicorns CC (two dedicated LGBTQ+ clubs), it was clear there are queer people within the game who do not always feel comfortable enough to be themselves outside of these environments. This needed to change, and that is why Proud Surrey was born.

Proud Surrey, the LGBTQ+ supporters’ branch of Surrey CCC, is the UK’s first LGBTQ+ inclusive fans’ group open to anyone who is part of the community as well as allies. Founding Proud Surrey was important to me to give people the opportunity to make new connections within the community and provide a friendly and supportive network for fans of the game. But for me, it was also important to create a group that helped improve visibility of LGBTQ+ people within cricket and over the last year we have been proud to be a part of a number of initiatives focused on helping the community to be seen.

One of these was a special match at Surrey CCC to celebrate Pride Month 2022. We came up with the idea of a Pride match last summer and Surrey were very keen to do something this season. Proud Surrey met as a committee and wrote a wish list to the club of things we wanted to achieve with the match and pretty much everything was granted. Our team worked to ensure a Pride flag up would be displayed on the pavilion and facilitated Proud Surrey badges being distributed to fans. They organised for us to be on the outfield at the innings break too. All of the club’s social media leading up to the game had a Pride theme, with some quotes from us and Surrey CEO Steve Elworthy. It was a fantastic evening and we were very grateful for the support we received from the club.

Sam Schofield, second from right, enjoying the Pride match at The Oval on Friday 1 July 2022

Sam Schofield, second from right, enjoying the Pride match at The Oval on Friday 1 July 2022

We also marched at the Pride in London parade this year, together with the ECB. Visibility is such an important thing and to be accepted into the march, a year into our existence, was incredibly exciting and it meant a lot to us to be able to champion the community of LGBTQ+ cricket fans at such a prominent event. The ECB has been there before, but to be the first cricket supporters’ group in the march and to be alongside people from the ECB and Graces CC, was amazing. We hope that this has helped create more exposure for LGBTQ+ people within cricket. The day was great fun and an experience we will never forget and hope to do again.

We have also been hard at work helping to develop a national supporter’s group (Pride in Cricket) which is now up and running. The speed in which this idea has turned into a reality has been phenomenal. Our committee of ten, led by Tracy Brown and myself are really hopeful about where we can take this and the impact we can achieve within the game. We hope to be there for anyone who needs us and provide a safe space for people to enjoy watching the England men’s and women’s teams. We hope that we inspire people to get into the game in a playing capacity too, and with the help of Graces CC and Birmingham Unicorns, more LGBTQ+ teams will be created. We also hope for change at the grassroots level, with clubs becoming more efficient in creating more welcoming environments for all aspects of diversity.

For anyone wanting to find out more about our work or get involved in our network, visit where you can sign up to  be a member of either Proud Surry, or Pride in Cricket, or both! . My message to other LGBTQ+ fans would be to encourage them to speak to their local club about how it can be made more inclusive to different communities. They can also contact their local county about setting up their own supporters’ group. Every small action and conversation all contributes to Raising The Game.  

Follow the Pride in Cricket social media pages on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the group as it develops in the coming months. 

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