Carlton Baths to open inclusive sporting hub

Australia’s largest LGBTQIA+ sporting club is developing an inclusion hub at the Carlton Baths to provide a safe space for participation in community sport.

Bushrangers Sporting Alliance president Stella Lesic said the inclusion hub would provide an opportunity for gender and sexuality diverse people to participate in basketball, swimming and skating teams.

“Sport and physical activity hasn’t always been a safe space for marginalised communities,” Ms Lesic  said.

“The hub would be a chance for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies to turn up and give something a go. It’s designed for beginners and those who have felt like they haven’t been included in mainstream sport”.

Final development discussions are still ongoing between the Bushrangers Sporting Alliance, the Carlton Baths and YMCA, with the aim to open the hub by the end of the year.

Stella said the Carlton Baths, which had been the home base for the Bushrangers Basketball team and the Ranger Rollers skating group for several years, had been strong supporters in the development of the hub.

“The Carlton Baths has been an amazing partner for us in making sure that we’ve got spaces that are completely inclusionary and they are supportive our policies and culture,” she said.

“It just made sense to make sure Carlton Baths would be the main base for our activities”.

In creating the hub, the Bushrangers Sporting Alliance aims to create a governance model, policy, and processes that other sporting groups can follow to develop their own inclusionary spaces.

“Sometimes it is really hard as a member of the community to trust that the space is safe. A lot of well-intentioned organisations will put up a rainbow-flag once a year but they don’t have anything underneath that. That’s where we would be able to help,” she said.

“Our aim is that we won’t have to exist in 10 years’ time.” •

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