Within the framework of the ENGSO Equality Within Sport Committee (EWS) and our #StandUp4Equality campaign, we continue to share personal stories of acceptance and empowerment through sport, shared by our friends from the LGBTQI+ sport community.
The following story comes from Brano Fidler, member of the Lotus Flowers Club, the only registered LGBTIQ+ sport club in Bratislava.
I have been passionate about sports since an early age although I have never been a professional or a top athlete. The reasons have evolved over the course of my life. At elementary school I just wanted to spend time with friends, rowing and hanging out. From high school to university, sport, particularly swimming, gave me shelter as a closeted gay man.
“During my student years, I did a lot of sports to run away from an environment that wasn’t open to diversity and from the feeling that no one could understand me. It worked, even though I was alone in it. Well, I actually felt happier on the sports field but lonely.”
Later on I began to move systematically more and more, for health and beauty of course: strength training and running, cycling, cross country skiing and salsa dancing. In 2015 I showed up at the LGBTIQ+ sports club in Bratislava and started playing floorball and joined my first sports team.
I had the opportunity to try other disciplines, such as volleyball, badminton, yoga, etc., both socially and competitively. Moreover, I quickly realised that in our club ‘Lotosové kvety’ (‘Lotus Flowers’) sport is also a very good tool for social understanding, visibility and acceptance.
I became a coordinator of the floorball group in ‘Lotosové kvety’ and a board member in 2016. Since then, I have been striving, together with other volunteers, to serve the LGBTIQ+ community as much as possible.
I’m happy that I can still find my motivation in small achievements, such as the birth of new sports groups, interest of newcomers, higher number of participants, listening to the personal stories from our players, positive feedbacks outside of the community, benefits and contacts from internal and international cooperation and our proud participation in competitions and tournaments.