Highland News and Media sports reporter Andrew Henderson hits out at the UK's ‘rising anti LGBTQIA+ rhetoric’ across politics, social and traditional media
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A Highland News and Media journalist who has become an articulate voice for equality in sport for people of different sexualities and gender identities has condemned a rise in discriminatory rhetoric across the UK.
Andrew Henderson, who is bisexual, works as sports reporter for the company while also highlighting the hopes, fears and challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community through his online writing for Pride of the Terraces, an outlet he created in 2019.
Determined to fight for those in sport suffering “judgement, exclusion or abuse” because of their sexuality, he has been dismayed by growing negativity towards the movement in British politics, social media and traditional press.
In an interview with LGBT publication UnDividing Lines, the 26-year-old spoke out against the trend while also discussing his own decision to come out to family, friends and work colleagues.
“Pride of the Terraces is a passion project, but it has opened up so many doors and connections for me personally beyond the scope of my day job with Highland News & Media,” he said.
“I started up the site because I felt there was a need for greater representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in sport, particularly in Scotland and that has only heightened in the face of rising anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric in politics, social media and traditional media across the UK.
"Every single day on social media I see posts from members of the LGBTQIA+ community about abuse they have witnessed or are being subjected to.
"For anyone who fights for greater inclusion and equality, these are mentally and emotionally draining because it feels like LGBTQIA+ people are constantly under attack.
"My speciality is in sport, and there the amount of anti-trans sentiment is absolutely abhorrent. Whenever there are headlines about Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, swimmer Lia Thomas or cyclist Emily Bridges there is a flood of abuse that the vast majority of the time is not based in fact or any scientific evidence.
"More recently I have seen this extend to national newspapers in Scotland, and it breaks my heart that these barriers are still in place for LGBTQIA+ participation in sport."
In his UnDividing Lines interview, Andrew was asked about how HN Media colleagues reacted when he came out to them.
“I have been met with nothing but support from colleagues, friends and family, but I know that not everyone is so fortunate as to be in my position," he said.
“I am by no means the only one working to make sport a more inclusive place for all – through Pride of the Terraces my eyes have been opened to the work that plenty of others are doing too.
“I know that we will all keep going until everyone is free to be their authentic selves in whatever sport they love without fear of judgement, exclusion or abuse.
“I actually had a weird moment a few months after I started working for the company when I realised that it was likely none of the people I worked with knew I was bi.
“As far as I was concerned, when I wrote an article saying it publicly, that was me ‘out’, but it started to sink in that you never really stop coming out.
“I think a lot of people only realised after I started producing LGBTQIA+ specific content, and to their credit nobody has taken issue with it.”