Kathryn Fowler profile – LGBT History Month

February is LGBT History Month, and we interviewed a number of athletes about their experiences of being ‘out’.

Our water polo profile is of Kathryn Fowler, who was part of the GB Women’s Senior Squad between 2012 and 2014.

Kathryn was part of the Commonwealth Water Polo Championships women’s squad in 2014. They won gold, beating their Canadian rivals 10-9.  We caught up with Kathryn to find out about her experience of coming ‘out’ as a water polo player.

  • Age: 25
  • Gender: Female
  • Sexual orientation: Queer
  • Twitter handle: @SpeedyFowler91
  • Occupation (if not competing any more): PhD student studying atmospheric science.
  • What level did you compete up to: GB Senior Team 2012-2014 (World Champs 2013 and Commonwealth Championships 2014), Division de Honor (Madrid, Spain).

What does LGBT History Month mean to you?

It didn’t really mean much to me before I was in a relationship with a woman. However, since that relationship began, I have been encouraged to take opportunities to learn about those who made it possible for myself, and others, to live and love freely.

So, on a recent trip to San Francisco, I got the opportunity to stop by the GLBT museum. Although it was a small space, it was wonderfully curated and collections had inspiring stories of historic figures in the LGBT community.

What was your experience like coming out in your sport?

I don’t have an exciting coming out story. Being so busy with training, competing and studying gave me something else to focus on. I guess it was an excuse not to think about it.

I don’t remember anyone ever specifically asking me about my sexual orientation, so I just never brought it up. Then I met this kind, intelligent and beautiful person, and started telling people about her. It just happened.

Have you had any really great experiences in water polo in relation to your sexual orientation?

My girlfriend was first properly introduced to my parents at a water polo game. I threw her in at the deep end as I left her for four quarters of a match with them.

But it seemed to have worked out. We’re still together.

What do you think people could to more of to support others in LGBT communities?

The LGBTQIA+ community is extremely diverse, so something that would be supportive to me, someone else might not find useful. Ultimately, I think it comes down to one thing: “Be kind with your words.”

I’ve noticed that often people make flippant or throwaway comments or jokes. Their intention is not to discriminate or alienate, but that is what their words are doing.

Individually, we should be prepared to speak out and challenge the things we hear which make us feel uncomfortable, even if it’s not directed at us.

By doing this, you’re letting others know that they have allies. It makes it easier for them to be themselves.

What message would you like to send to others in the LGBT community?

Do what makes you happy and be proud of what you believe.

  • To find out about some of the LGBT aquatics clubs in England, please click here.