Welcome to a series on Proudly dedicated to sharing the stories from a variety of influential LGBTQ+ content creators who come from all different backgrounds within the media.
This series will enable us to showcase their achievements and experiences within the industry and give advice to inspire future content creators from the LGBTQ+ community.
Proudly wants to shine a light on the people who have made strides in a very competitive industry. Hopefully, this series is the start of something special for Proudly where we have been lucky enough to interview inspiring people such as A Gay and A NonGay podcast hosts James Barr and Dan Hudson, Jon Holmes, Amazin LêThi, Benjamin Cohen, Kaylee Golding, Jon Lee-Olsen and Michael Gunning who have shared their incredible stories with us already.
Today’s article is dedicated to our latest LGBTQ+ influencer. Jo Currie is a well renowned BBC Women’s Sport Reporter who has reported on some of the biggest moments in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games as well as women’s football, cricket and hockey World Cups.
Introducing Jo Currie
Jo Currie is one of the biggest names within the sports journalist industry being apart of BBC for over 15 years. Throughout Jo’s illustrious career she has reported on the biggest moments in sports such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games as well as women’s football, cricket and hockey World Cups.
Covering a wide variety of channels during her career, Jo has reported for the BBC on television, radio and even on the website.
Despite achieving so much in the world of journalism and reporting on something she loves every day, Jo is still very humble and is surprised to be regarded as an influencer. Although Jo is aware of the magnitude of the job she does and the platform this has given her especially on social media.
As Proudly is an LGBTQ+ journalism site, we are very envious of Jo who is thriving in a sector that is not only very competitive but is very rare to see any sort of LGBTQ+ representation within sports.
LGBTQ+ Representation in sport
Sport is sadly a sector that has one of the fewest openly LGBTQ+ representation. Although over the years it has vastly improved. One notable campaign that is taking place this week is the Rainbow Laces by Stonewall UK.
Thankfully there are also certain organisations put in place such as Pride Sports who were founded in 2006 and was the first, and still one of only three organisations in the UK working solely to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport and improve access to sport for LGBTQ+ people from grassroots to professional.
“There are more open athletes than ever before and that makes telling their stories easier and the attitudes have changed so much with more of us working in the media and we are always keen to share our stories.”– Jo Currie on the evolution of LGBTQ+ representation in sports.
When Jo first started in the industry none of these organisations existed and LGBTQ+ representation in sports media was barely heard of. Jo went on to say that one way we can improve representation is by not putting too much pressure on athletes to share their stories and putting their sexuality infront of their talent.
Jo would like to see LGBTQ+ journalists and athletes to be given roles on punditry and to be given a platform to speak about more things other than their identity, gender or sexuality.
Gender in sports media
When Jo first began covering she wasn’t just covering women’s games purely because there wasn’t a huge amount of professional women’s sport to cover. There weren’t many females working in sport full stop.
Highlighting what it was like breaking into a usually male-dominated industry at the time Jo said it made her slightly conscious that she had to always justify why she was there which made her appearances always be accompanied an attitude of surprise from other journalists.
Starting off at BBC Radio Leeds answering the phones on a Leeds United phone in to one year later Jo’s boss pushed her into pursuing a career in commentary.
Jo recalled an interaction with a fellow journalist from her early commentary days:
“I turned up at a football game with my BBC jacket on with big BBC radio broadcasting equipment in my hands and I said hi I’m Jo from the BBC and they said great! who is doing the commentary?
It seems to completely pass them by that I wasn’t there just to bring the equipment I was actually there to cover the game.”– Jo Currie discussing one of her earliest moments in sports commentary.
Thankfully in the modern world of sport, there is no longer any preconceptions or lack of diversity. There are now so many females working in sports in every role not just as reporters but in punditry, presenting and commentating.
“These are women who are highly talented and worked incredibly hard to get where they are and in the positions that they deserve to be in and that’s wonderful to see.
I think that sport is so much more accepting now as people expect to see a female presenter, commentator, pundit or reporter covering a football match for either the men’s or women’s games and that’s the way it should be.”– Jo Currie on the evolution of female representation within sports media
Jo Currie’s biggest story in sport
With over 15 years of national sports journalism experience under her belt, Jo has played an integral part in sharing the biggest stories in sport, especially within women’s football.
One standout story for Jo is the one she covered earlier this year about English international women’s footballer and West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty who is a wonderful advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
In this interview, Gilly talked about all the pressures she faced a decade ago struggling with accepting her sexuality whilst breaking into football which made her contemplate taking her own life.
Jo was very honoured calling it a privilege that Gilly trusted her to share her story and spoke so openly about her experiences and struggles.
The reason Gilly wanted to share her story to Jo was that she was finally at a happy stage in her life and wanted to use her platform to reach out to young people who are currently in a position she was ten years earlier.
Speaking from her first-hand experience Gilly used this story to not only talk about her own journey but to highlight how differently she would have dealt with her situation knowing what she does now. The biggest regret for Gilly was not opening up sooner and not asking for help.
Gilly’s story was met with an overwhelmingly positive response from readers of the BBC towards Gilly and her story.
This story will always remain very meaningful for Jo who was privileged to have been trusted to share Gilly’s story and this is what she had to say the opportunity:
“It is not even the most important LGBTQ+ piece of work I have done it’s probably the most important piece I have ever done full stop.”
Jo Currie’s advice for future generations of LGBTQ+ journalists?
Lastly, Proudly like to ask all our influencers if they could give one bit of advice to the future generations of LGBTQ+ people trying to break into the world of sports media.
This is the advice Jo would like to give to our readers who are striving to break into professional sports media.
“Don’t let anything hold you back, if this is the industry you want to be in and you’re good enough and work hard enough then you will get to where you want to be.
“Don’t see the fact you’re from the LGBTQ+ community as something to worry about there is plenty of us in the industry flourishing and you can use it to your advantage, you’ve had experience in a certain type of diversity that you can take into your work.
“If this is what you want to do and it is the best industry to work in, just go for it.”– Jo Currie’s advice for the future generation of LGBTQ+ journalists
As mentioned previously, Proudly.blog will be taking an insight into various LGBTQ+ creators to help inspire the young and upcoming journalists of today. If you have a story you would like to share or think you know someone who would like to share their story. Get in touch and get involved.
A huge thank you to Jo Currie for sharing her story and advice to our readers.