Stacey Francis-Bayman has claimed that Birmingham 2022 offers a chance to send a global message about human rights ©Getty Images

England netball player Stacey Francis-Bayman is optimistic this year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will provide an opportunity to send a powerful global message about human rights.

Francis-Bayman told The Pride House Podcast, a series from Pride House Birmingham, that sport had a responsibility to advocate for inclusion.

The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, currently playing in Australia’s Super Netball, claimed the event offered the opportunity to influence and support other nations.

"Something that really grinds my gears and that I hear all the time, especially since being in Australia, is that sport and politics don’t mix, and it drives me mad," Francis-Bayman said.

"I’m not just an athlete.

"You don’t get to just consume who I am by the way in which I throw and catch the ball on court.

"That isn’t the legacy I want to leave.

"That isn’t the messaging that I want people to take away.

"Whatever we consume and whenever we watch, you should also be able to pause and think about athletes as holistic human beings and not want to be oblivious to who they are and what they stand for.

"I firmly believe that sport is a fantastic space to be able to push and drive home really important messages.

"If you’re coming from a position of power - like England and the UK certainly is - it would be a shame and a waste to not influence and support other countries."

LGBTQ+ advocate Khakan Qureshi also featured on the third episode of the podcast ©Pride House Podcast
LGBTQ+ advocate Khakan Qureshi also featured on the third episode of the podcast ©Pride House Podcast

The Pride House Podcast, hosted by Jon Holmes, features a variety of athletes, coaches, officials, event organisers and human rights advocates across the Commonwealth.

It is hoped their stories and experiences will rally wider support and understanding for important causes surrounding LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) rights.

The rights of LGBTQ+ people across the Commonwealth are a focus, with 36 nations set to participate in Birmingham 2022 still outlawing homosexuality.

The third episode of the podcast also featured Khakan Qureshi, the founder of the Birmingham South Asians LGBT "Finding A Voice" group.

Qureshi was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List for his extensive work around LGBT equality in the region.

Francis-Bayman and Qureshi compare their experiences of growing up LGBTQ+ in the Birmingham area, as well as the evolution of LGBTQ+ rights in Australia and India.

Both guests also discuss their visions for what Pride House Birmingham can offer.

Pride House Birmingham, located in the heart of the city’s Gay Village, is due to open on July 22.

The opening will take place a week before the start of Birmingham 2022, offering a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ visitors and allies and a varied programme of events and activities.