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Sporting stars partner with Ford LGBTQ+ series

Words by Smiley Team

Sporting stars have teamed up with car manufacturer Ford to tackle LGBT+ discrimination in the sporting industry.

The company has launched ‘Ford Presents Tough Talks’, a series of videos exploring how the automotive industry – and sports – can foster a culture of inclusion and allyship for the LGBT+ community. 

Each episode will be hosted by a different sporting legend who will talk about issues facing the community and how we can overcome them. The first episode is hosted by Welsh sporting legend and first openly gay rugby union professional, Gareth Thomas.

“One thing I’m always fed up with is people saying ‘well, that doesn’t happen in 2022 because society has progressed and things have changed’," says Gareth, "but the fact that we’re openly having this conversation is the reality of 2022 from lived experiences."

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In his episode, Gareth is joined by Ed Rogers, who is chair of Ford Pride, and founder and chair of Driving Pride, a cross-automotive group dedicated to driving out discrimination in the industry.

Ford Pride has been going since 1995, making Ford one of the first companies in the corporate world to establish this type of employee resource group and to develop a Gender Identity Commitment.

The group has championed LGBT+ rights across the globe as well as workplace inclusion in all aspects of corporate life.

In the second episode, Charlie Martin, a British racing driver and transgender rights activist, takes the passenger seat to talk about the challenges she faced transitioning within a male-dominated sport. 

Each episode of Tough Talks will feature conversations between Gareth Thomas and prominent members of the LGBT+ community and allies. Guests will discuss the challenge of various stereotypes that are found in, and beyond automotive culture and the wider sporting industry.

Across many sporting industries, LGBT+ representation is still seemingly less established than other industries.

In recent weeks Jake Daniels, a professional footballer playing for Blackpool, came out as gay, making him the UK's only openly gay active male professional footballer.

Ford hopes their video series will continue in the company’s mission to drive out discrimination and give the LGBT+ community a voice in the automotive industry and beyond.

“As a company, we actively champion all forms of diversity and are a committed and long-standing LGBT+ ally," says Peter Godsell, vice president of Human Resources at Ford Europe.

“The world is changing and there’s no place for discrimination of any kind, yet the message needs to be reinforced again and again. These videos are just another way to keep pushing the message but in a relatable and human way.” 

Inspired to act?

ENGAGE: The Tough Talks video series can be viewed on Ford Europe’s Youtube channel.

SUPPORT: To find out more and support an organisation challenging homophobia in sports, visit Pride Sports.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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