Sport is ‘coming out’ for LGBT equality this month to celebrate Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign.
Fans, sports leaders and athletes are all playing their part to kick discrimination out of sport. According to Stonewall research, four in ten LGBT people (43 per cent) think public sporting events aren’t welcoming for them.
The campaign kicks off on Friday 22 November and runs through to Sunday 8 December with gymnastics, horseracing and golf getting involved for the first time.
British Gymnastics is taking Rainbow Laces to Tokyo at the Trampoline World Championships, while the British Horseracing Authority showcases LGBT role models in equestrianism.
Football clubs across Britain are joining the Rainbow Laces takeover, including all Premier League clubs, FA and English Football League, Scottish Professional League and Cymru Premier clubs. Premier League and EFL clubs are competing in Rainbow Laces-themed fixtures, while the FA’s Women’s Super League is lacing up on the pitch to support LGBT equality.
England Rugby is also having a rainbow makeover at the Red Roses’ Quilter International meeting with Italy Women.
Thousands of fans and athletes are ready to lace up on Rainbow Laces Day to show LGBT people that they are welcome in sport. Schools, businesses, clubs and individuals across Britain are also playing their part by ‘coming out’ active with a week-long series of physical activities to raise awareness of LGBT equality in sport.
This year Stonewall also announces its first eight Sport Champions. Athletes include Ryan Atkin, the first openly gay football referee, Philippa York, a trans woman who was one of Britain’s most successful cyclists and Tom Bosworth, who holds the world record for the one-mile race walk.
Thousands of laces have been sent to businesses and schools in preparation for ‘Rainbow Laces Day’, which is taking place on Wednesday 27 November. Already more than 95,005 Rainbow Laces have been sent out.
Robbie de Santos, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: ‘At a time when society feels increasingly divided, sport has this unique ability to bring people together from all walks of life. That’s why it’s so inspiring to see more and more sports come together each year to support Rainbow Laces.
‘We can’t just rely on LGBT people to make sports more inclusive, we all have to play our part. While wearing a simple shoelace might seem like a small gesture, for LGBT people it’s a powerful symbol of acceptance.
‘If you love sport and care about equality, then join us and take responsibility for making LGBT people feel welcome. The more players, fans, clubs and organisations that stand up for equality, the sooner we reach a place where all LGBT people, from fans to players, are accepted without exception.’
The Rainbow Laces campaign is made possible by TeamPride, a consortium of world-leading brands committed to making sport everyone’s game. TeamPride members are adidas, Aon, Aviva, Barclays, Coca-Cola, Premier League and Sky Sports.