15th June 2018

Statement of Inclusion

Sheffield Steel Roller Derby is committed to building a league based on respect and acceptance. Our members come from all walks of life, and this diversity is what helps make us great. Whatever their race, gender, sexuality, age, neurotype, physical ability, every person in our league is indispensable, and deserves all the love and respect we have to offer. We support the right of everyone to live their lives free of bullying and harassment.

Bigotry, sexism, transphobia, racism, homophobia or any other form of intolerance or hate is unacceptable. Any member or participant who engages in bullying or harassment will be removed from the league. Anyone expressing intolerance or hate towards another person at an event will result in ejection without reimbursement, and a ban from subsequent events.

Trans inclusion

We believe in and comply with the United Kingdom Roller Derby Association (UKRDA) Gender Policy:

In a roller derby team, there exists a spectrum of heights, weights, natural abilities and existing or gained fitness levels.  Each skater on a team utilises the strengths they have – whether it be a speedy, explosive jammer compared to a more powerful, offensive style jammer, or a super-agile blocker compared to a powerhouse blocker.  It is not therefore relevant to deem a transgender skater ineligible for inclusion in roller derby on the basis of what stage of gender transition they are at or how their physical body presents.

UKRDA Gender Policy

We therefore explicitly support the right of trans women, and non-binary people who feel comfortable participating in a women-identified team, to join us as skaters. We welcome people of all genders to join as referees, non-skate officials, coaches and volunteers. If you have any questions about joining us, please email ssrdrecruitment@gmail.com. The UKRDA Liaison can be contacted via tgliaison@ukrda.org.uk.

Why is it important to be explicitly trans inclusive?

There remains a harmful and pervasive idea in our society that trans and non-binary people either don’t really exist, or else that they should be subject to derogatory stereotypes and excluded from activities such as sports. SSRD rejects this narrative and aims to provide a safe and accepting environment for trans and non-binary people to participate in roller derby. Disclosure of their trans or non-binary status is entirely at the discretion of the individual and no one is required to ‘prove’ their gender to participate.

What does SSRD do to be trans inclusive?

  • We welcome trans women and non-binary people who wish to skate for a women’s league to participate as skaters (in line with the WFTDA Gender Statement).
  • We welcome people of any gender to join as officials, coaches and volunteers.
  • We share our Statement of Inclusion publically on our website and via social media throughout the year to keep our message visible. 
  • We promote trans and non-binary acceptance in sport and the roller derby community.
  • We issue regular reminders to our members about the importance of educating ourselves and each other about trans inclusion, and of speaking out in support of the trans and non-binary communities.
  • We ensure our resources are up to date and circulated frequently.
  • We have robust policies and procedures in place for dealing with unacceptable behaviour towards the trans and non-binary communities.
  • We apologise when we go things wrong and adapt our behaviour to address the problem.

Anti-racism

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist

Angela Davis

SSRD is determined to improve the accessibility, inclusion and diversity of our league. In the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, we are aiming to create and maintain an environment where all members are able to participate fully and achieve at equal rates regardless of background. This means adopting an explicitly anti-racist stance, and implementing changes and practices to support this stance.

Why is it important to be explicitly anti-racist?

It isn’t enough for us to say that ‘We are not racist’. Saying something doesn’t make it so, and a blanket ‘We are not racist’ position allows us to avoid confronting how our ideas, thoughts, actions, policies, etc., could be or have been racist. Adopting an anti-racist stance means actively, consciously and continuously choosing to confront racism and racist practices, and working to dismantle them.

For example, it is not acceptable for our league to dismiss our low BAME membership as a sign that black and minority ethnic people just aren’t interested in roller derby. Black and minority ethnic people are underrepresented in roller derby, and in our league. People from BAME backgrounds face more barriers to participating in sport, for a variety of reasons tied to the systemic racism in our society, and as a result they are underrepresented in not just our league, but across roller derby. The first step is to acknowledge that we can and must do more to fight these barriers. The next step is to determine how, and then to implement those plans. 

It is important that, in our efforts to improve inclusion and diversity, the league does not tokenise BAME members or recruits. We are not seeking to improve our diversity for the sake of appearances, but rather because the mental, physical and social benefits that come from participation in sport belong to everyone.

What does SSRD do to be anti-racist?

This list is not exhaustive, and will continue to be updated as we learn and grow.

  • We are developing a subcommittee responsible for promoting inclusion and diversity across all areas of SSRD, to ensure that the responsibility for improving the league’s practices lies with the majority of the league, rather than relying on the emotional labour of our BAME members. 
  • Our Rostering and Attendance Policy makes allowances for members who may not meet the minimum attendance requirement, for example due to observing religious holidays on key dates. 
  • We share our Statement of Inclusion publicly on our website and via social media throughout the year to keep our message visible.
  • We have developed a collaborative Guide to Education and Action for Black Lives Matter.
  • We have robust policies and procedures in place for dealing with unacceptable behaviour towards BAME communities.
  • We apologise when we go things wrong and adapt our behaviour to address the problem.

Unacceptable behaviour

Bullying, harassment or discrimination against others, whether in or outside of the league and including on social media, is prohibited by the Code of Conduct. Breaches will be investigated under the Disciplinary Procedure and action will be taken, up to and including expulsion from the league.

Where can I learn more?

It is important that league members take the time to educate themselves about trans and non-binary issues – your trans teammates are not mouthpieces for all trans people,  and it’s unfair to expect them to be your teacher. While someone might be happy to chat to you, it’s not their job to educate you on the spectrum of gender. There’s loads of information out there, so leave your teammate to get on with their skating.

Similarly, it is unfair to ask or expect your black teammates to educate you about racism, or your Muslim teammate to be a mouthpiece for the entire Islamic community. There are so many resources, about so many topics, to help us tackle institutionalised racism, without relying on the unpaid emotional labour of the very people being abused and exploited.

What can we do better?

We’d love to hear your suggestions for how we can improve our inclusion and accessibility services. Please email ssrdcommittee@gmail.com with any comments.

Resources