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 Leicestershire & Rutland 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 kicked 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.
According to Stonewall’s research, over four in ten LGBT people (43 per cent) think public sporting events aren’t welcoming for them.
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.
In November 2018 The FA announced a partnership with Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity. This led to Stonewall FC’s Middlesex County Football League Division One clash with Wilberforce Wanderers AFC being played at Wembley Stadium – the first time a non-League seasonal fixture has been hosted at the national stadium. The FA continues to be an ally of the LGBT community, supporting the annual Rainbow Laces campaign, delivering ticketing opportunities for LGBT+ fan groups at every England game, while over 50 FA employees and County FA staff took part in July’s Pride parade in central London.
Kelly Ellis, Leicestershire & Rutland CFA CEO said: “Leicestershire & Rutland CFA is committed to making the game truly accessible to everyone and we are proud to be able to use football to continue our efforts of creating an LGBT+ inclusive environment within our communities.
“We are making great strides in this area but recognise that there is still work to be done, so we see this as a significant next step to making the game inclusive for all.”
To learn more about Rainbow laces and how you and your club can support the campaign click here