Football clubs across England are joining the Rainbow Laces takeover and are lacing up on the pitch to support LGBT+ equality.
Football is ‘coming out’ for LGBT+ equality this month to celebrate Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign and to be an ally of inclusion. Clubs from across Gloucestershire will join the likes of the Premier League, the EFL, the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and thousands of grassroots clubs in support of LGBT+ equality.
The campaign kicks off on Friday 22 November and runs through to Sunday 8 December with all 50 County Football Associations showing support for LGBT+ inclusion. This is a significant milestone which has seen 21,500 laces and 1,250 captain’s armbands distributed to clubs, leagues and the women’s football pyramid for local, regional and national fixtures.
Gloucestershire FA will be launching the local campaign with the support of Cheltenham Town Football Club, in their match against Colchester United on Saturday 23 November. Furthermore, we will be supporting the Gloucestershire County League, Gloucestershire County Women’s League and providing promotional support to clubs across the county.
There is much work to be done as statistics show:
- 7 in 10 football fans who’ve attended a match have heard or witnessed homophobia on the terraces. (Leagues Behind 2009)
- 1 in 8 LGBT people avoid going to the gym or participating in sports groups because of fear of discrimination and harassment
- More than 2 in 5 LGBT+ people think public sporting events are not a welcoming space for them (LGBT in Britain: Hate crime and discrimination, YouGov and Stonewall 2017).
The good news is that the Rainbow Laces campaign, which is now in its fourth year, has had a positive impact within football:
- The Rainbow Laces campaign has inspired around 7 million people to feel more positive about LGBT inclusion in sport after having seen the campaign (ICM/Stonewall Research, 2017).
- As a result of seeing the campaign, around 4.8 million people say they would be more likely to challenge anti-LGBT language in sport (ICM/ Stonewall Research, 2017).
- Some 58% of sport fans who saw the campaign feel like they have responsibility to stick up for LGBT fans of the teams and sports they follow (ICM/Stonewall Research, 2017).
The combined efforts of grassroots clubs and leagues continues to generate awareness of and help tackle homophobia, transphobia and biphobia abuse. However, while progress has been made, there is still work to be done to encourage people to be active allies of LGBT+ people and make football For All.
The FA recognises that football can play an important role in encouraging everyone to be themselves and creating acceptance in wider society and, with this in mind, LGBT+ is a significant focus of In Pursuit of Progress, The FA’s equality, diversity and inclusion plan.
Gloucestershire FA Chief Executive, David Neale said: “We're delighted to be a part of the 2019 Rainbow Laces campaign, we hope everyone will show their support for the LGBT+ community by engaging with the campaign so that we can all help to make football everyone’s game."
For further information on how you can get involved and access resources to promote Rainbow Laces campaign, visit our dedicated page below.