Volunteer blog: Shooky
8th September 2023
Shooky shares his experience of being a LEAP volunteer
Who am I
Hey, I’m Shooky. I have been volunteering with LEAP Sports since last year. I moved from China to Scotland in September 2022 to study Sport Policy at the University of Edinburgh. Before coming here, I was engaged in the prevention of sexual violence and LGBTQI+ rights advocacy in China for 5 years.
Why LGBTQI+ and Sports
I studied at a Chinese sports university where dominant norms of masculinity often led to profound experiences of homonegativity. Because I didn’t conform to traditional male gender expression, I would often be teased by classmates and given some hurtful nicknames. My ex-boyfriend was a student-athlete. He always believed that homosexuality was an illness and couldn’t accept his sexual orientation and true self. After graduation, he returned to his hometown to marry a girl. These experiences not only caused me a lot of pain but also made me deeply aware of the invisibility of LGBTQI+ individuals in the sports context and the necessity of promoting diversity and inclusion.
Why I Volunteer
I have always believed that volunteer work is an exchange of energy. As volunteers, we donate our time and skills to serve an organisation or a specific task. But at the same time, we can gain experience, a sense of accomplishment, and support from the community in this process. In the past year as a LEAP volunteer, I’ve been involved in some campaigns, such as Festival Fortnight and Football v Homophobia. Recently, with the support of European Solidarity Corps, I started a 3-month volunteering placement at LEAP. I am super excited and looking forward to getting more deeply involved in the work of LGBTQI+ and sports with all of you.
One of the highlights from my time volunteering with LEAP definitely has to be my experience during Festival Fortnight. During this event, I participated in many different types of sports and communicated with many friends. For myself, I genuinely felt that I was encouraged and supported during these activities. That safe environment allowed me to participate and enjoy the sport itself without any worries. As for the event itself, I heard many community stories and felt the flow of energy. They are no longer confined by gender and sexual orientation, and they are free to be themselves, which deeply moved me.
Volunteer with LEAP
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with LEAP you can find more information about volunteering as well as sign up to our volunteering newsletter here. Alternatively for any volunteer queries you can contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Laura, on firstname.lastname@example.org