Celebrating LGBT History Month with alumnus Tom Dingley
This month, we are celebrating LGBT History Month, which promotes equality and diversity. The university is proud to continue to be one of Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers and will always champion inclusivity.
We spoke to Tom Dingley, photographer, University of Greenwich alumnus and lifelong Charlton Athletic fan. He photographed members of Charlton Athletic Community Trust Invicta (CATC), the first club, trust-affiliated LGBTQI+ friendly football team, for an exhibition that went on display after a recent match against Oxford – part of the club’s Football v Homophobia month of action.
Tom said: “For the past few years I have worked on my own LGBT* portrait project called ‘Outcome’, where I have photographed LGBT* people as they are now – out adults. Showing the diversity of the LGBT* community, breaking down stereotypes and showing visual role models to young people growing up that there are LGBT* people from all backgrounds and in all areas of our wider community.
“I have got involved with Charlton Athletic through the University of Greenwich. As a Charlton fan myself, it was only natural to want to get involved with the Football v Homophobia match against Oxford United. Knowing about CACT Invicta FC, I wanted to photograph some of the team – an all-inclusive team – to show Charlton Athletic as being a club where everyone is welcome; from players at all levels, the community off the pitch and the fans. The portraits show off the team members as role models for what football should be, a team sport for everyone; gay or straight – especially if you can help us get three points game after game!”
Charlton Athletic did a great job dedicating their match against Oxford Utd as their ‘Football v Homophobia’ match, so for Tom, it was great to see the club he grew up watching, tackling homophobia in football. For Tom, photographing the Charlton Invicta team for a display in the club on match day was beneficial to the cause: “Having portraits of out gay football players and straight allies – their teammates – helps to break down the stereotype that football is not a place for LGBT+ people.
“It shows that football is a team sport – for everyone to get involved with. Furthermore, it’s not just on the pitch, behind the scenes and the fans all come together to make a club work. Creating an atmosphere where everyone – regardless of sexuality and/or identity – feels welcome, is crucial to the game. A happy football club is a successful football club.”