Lesbian Visibility Week 2024: Robyn Love GB Paralympic Medalist

23rd April 2024

Lesbian Visibility Week 2024: Robyn Love GB Paralympic Medalist

For Lesbian Visibility Week 2024, we caught up with Robyn Love, mum, GB Paralympic medalist, lesbian woman and athlete.

Lesbian Visibility Week aims to celebrate lesbians and well as show solidarity with all women. Lesbian Visibility Week is celebrated from 22nd to 28th April and will be marked by many communities across the country throughout the week, including with The Big Kickabout aiming to (unofficially) break the World Record for the most LGBTQIA women and non-binary people having a kickabout.

Now, more than ever, it feels pertinent to share the stories of lesbians who are visibly proud and authentically themselves in their sport. This is why we reached out to some of our lesbian role models in sport, including Robyn Love.

There never seems to be a quiet time in the life of a mum, let alone in the life of an athlete. Robyn tells us a bit about what’s been going on in her life: “It’s been an incredibly busy couple of months and especially the last couple of weeks have been busy with friendlies and training camps. A recent trip to the Netherlands was the first time we were away without Alba (our daughter) and it just wasn’t as fun without her.”

Robyn shares how Alba, who is now 1, is almost like a mascot for the team and really lifts the spirits of the team: “I had the tournament of my life at the 2023 IWBF European Championships, I made the all star team of the competition, and I truly believe having Alba there made the difference for me. I love being a mum, and I love being able to compete (and succeed) while I am both being my authentic self in my relationship with Laurie but also with our gorgeous daughter, it makes all the difference. It has been completely freeing, us loving our lives and living it authentically. I am not as worried about how everyone else is feeling. Seeing Alba’s face in the crowds makes me relax and I just play better”.

The GB Women's Wheelchair Basketball team claimed their spot at Paris 2024 with that silver medal at the European Championships. If that isn’t an advert for living your life authentically, then what is? We will be cheering on the entire GB Women’s team come Paris.

As it is Lesbian Visibility Week, we asked Robyn the key reason(s) for celebrating lesbian visibility in sports: “Lesbians have a lot to celebrate - we are generally a fantastic community. I grew up in a time where lesbians weren’t really visible and it therefore means a lot to me to see it now. I don’t remember seeing people on tv or on the streets, let alone in sport. History would always say “they were just close friends”. But I think even though things have moved on, it is even more important to celebrate visibility so we don’t lose sight of the changes still to be made.”

Robyn goes on to reflect: “there are lots of lesbians in sport, no more than in general life may I just add, but it isn’t always as celebrated, and it should be. We should be proud of who we are. Unfortunately I have always felt and have grown up feeling that the word lesbian doesn’t have good connotations. I’ve wondered, “is it misogyny?”. Within sport, gay men often get more attention than lesbian women. And that is both in terms of positive attention and negative.“

Do you think homophobia isn’t an issue in women’s sport? “It is absolutely still an issue! It feels like it isn’t spoken of as much. It is often from the outside world imposing homophobia on us rather than internally between players and coaches though, which I think can be the difference. I am grateful I have not experienced direct homophobia, I do think in women’s sport there is more support between us and we stand up for each other. Any discrimination or unkindness is checked and challenged quietly.”

Has there become less of a need for lesbian visibility? “There is definitely still a need for visibility that is specifically for lesbians. It feels a bit like we are in 2024 and people are finally accepting who we are, that we exist and it is okay for us to participate in life and particularly in sport. I think we need to celebrate those who laid the path before us to get to this point as well.”

Robyn goes on to share that she feels there is less homophobia but that there are still systems in place that makes it a challenge to be a lesbian and especially a mum. Within the world of sport she wanted to make sure we also touch on intersectionality:

“Last year I was included on the Independent’s Pride List for 2023 but I didn’t even know until I was made aware through the LEAP newsletter. The Independent never contacted me to let me know or to check about what photo to use. They chose this random photo of me in a mask from during Covid and it just didn’t sit right with me. It felt like I was being included so they had a disabled gay person and they put no thought behind the picture or the content. Is it because disabled lesbians aren’t as fun? It’s the intersectionality of being a disabled, gay woman. I don’t believe they would ever use a picture like that of much more well known out Olympic male athletes.”

Thank you Robyn for taking the time to speak to us, for sharing her story and living her life so openly. She is a true inspiration and we can’t wait to follow her next sporting adventures as well as her gorgeous family.

If you would like to sign up to the LEAP Newsletter to make sure you catch all the important news stories you can sign up here.

Written on 23rd April 2024.