CGF officials including President Dame Louise Martin, front second left, were among those present at the opening of Pride House Birmingham ©CGF

Pride House Birmingham has officially opened at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games here, which Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Katie Sadleir has hailed as "incredibly important".

Sadleir was part of a CGF delegation which also included President Dame Louise Martin and Athlete Commission chair Brendan Williams who attended the opening of the facility in Birmingham's Gay Village.

Pride Houses established at major events are dedicated to LGBTIQ+ inclusion, diversity and culture, and have previously featured at the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The main venue in Birmingham is set to broadcast live sport and offer various activities, performances and talks during the Games.

It provides a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people at Birmingham 2022, and offers graphics depicting the LGBTIQ+ human rights position of the Commonwealth nations.

Of the 72 nations and territories set to feature at Birmingham 2022, 36 still outlaw homosexuality.

Sadleir argued that Pride House Birmingham ties in with the CGF's values, and provides an "incredibly important" space for fans and athletes during the Games.

Pride House is also set to be present at the Athletes' Villages for the first time, with facilities established at the University of Birmingham, University of Warwick, and NEC Hotel campuses, and Sadleir believes that the emphasis on LGBTIQ+ inclusion and rights at Birmingham 2022 is greater than at any previous Commonwealth Games.

"It's actually not even just the Pride House which is fantastic, it's the whole programme of increasing the visibility, support and education of LGBTQ people in the sport community," the CGF chief executive told insidethegames.

"We pulled together what we call the Commonwealth Pride Network where we brought athletes, some of the CGAs, some of the coaches to talk about what should we do in terms of this Commonwealth Games to take it to that next level, and you'll see a huge increase in visibility about the importance of Pride right through the Games in the Village and outside the Village.

"Taking Pride House into the Village as well has been a really important step so that people feel they can embrace and talk about issues associated with the LGBTQ community inside and outside of the venues.

"It is the first time, and also the first time you'll see a lot of Pride signage and merchandising, bringing the visibility of some of the challenges and opportunities that are out there for the Pride community, so we're really doing things that we've never done before and that are really important."

CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir said
CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir said "we're really doing things that we've never done before" at Birmingham 2022 through initiatives including Pride House Birmingham ©ITG

At the opening of Pride House Birmingham, CGF President Dame Louise pledged the CGF's backing for its work.

"I am delighted to see the opening of Pride House Birmingham today, which will be a fantastic hub to champion and enable LGBTIQ+ values throughout the Commonwealth Games," Dame Louise said.

"We are proud to support Pride House and as 'The Games for Everyone' we believe that Birmingham 2022 will provide an inspiring and important opportunity to engage, champion and benefit many diverse communities, including the LGBTIQ+ sporting community.

"Our sporting family is defined by all kinds of diversity, including religious and cultural diversity.

"Through our support for Pride House, the CGF will continue to lead by positive example, embracing our shared passion for sport and living our values of humanity, equality and destiny."

Pride House Birmingham's co-founder Neil Basterfield explained to insidethegames the significance of having the venue, which is due to be open until the end of the Games on August 8.

"I think it's really important because first of all people from the LGBTIQ+ community often feel outsiders in sport, so the concept of the Pride House over the last 12 years has been really important to provide a safe, inclusive space where people can just be themselves and chill out," Basterfield said.

"And for everybody else, it's also massively important to come and see some of the really key issues that face our community, whether it's across the Commonwealth or in sport in general, so Pride House offers something for everyone on every day of the Games.

"No matter where you’re from or who you are, you'll find something at Pride House."

Basterfield also revealed that plans are in place to "set up an organisation that will look to promote LGBTIQ+ participation in sport and physical activity" as a legacy of Birmingham 2022, referencing its significance given that the "community disproportionately engages in sport and physical activity".

Councillor John Cotton, the Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities at Birmingham City Council, added that he believes the Pride House reflects the inclusivity and welcoming nature of the English city.

Pride House Birmingham is based in the city's Gay Village, and has a series of events planned up until the end of the Commonwealth Games on August 8 ©ITG
Pride House Birmingham is based in the city's Gay Village, and has a series of events planned up until the end of the Commonwealth Games on August 8 ©ITG

"Inclusion and diversity are Brummie values, they're absolutely rooted in the city's DNA, so being able to host Pride House here as part of the Commonwealth Games is just incredibly important to us," Cotton told insidethegames.

"I think it sends a really important message to the rest of the world about how Birmingham is an open and welcoming city, and we want a city where everybody can be who they want to be, love who they wish to love and particularly celebrate the great moments of sport that we're going to see as the Commonwealth Games opens next week."

Pride House ambassador Michael Gunning detailed some of the facilities offered at Pride House Birmingham.

"This space is so big and so much will be offered," Gunning told insidethegames.

"There is a games room, there is going to be different panels, there's a social room, there's a café.

"This has gone way beyond anything there ever has been, and I think the fact that it can be in Birmingham, a home Games for me and for us, is really incredible and will really champion diversity and inclusion."

An initial schedule of events at Pride House Birmingham has already been released.