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 Suffolk 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, November 22nd and runs through to Sunday, December 8th 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.
Suffolk FA Inclusive Football Development Officer Kirsty Smith said: “Suffolk FA are fully committed to making football an all-inclusive sport and create an environment where LBGT+ players feel welcome, relaxed and part of the footballing community.
“We realise there is still a long way to go, but year on year the engagement with our Suffolk based clubs and leagues has increased – with this campaign seeing the highest engagement from our adult teams and leagues.
“This is a huge step forward and one we want to build on for years to come. Hopefully in the future campaign’s like this won’t be needed as LGBT+ players will be fully integrated into the football community, however until then we will continue to strive to make football inclusive for all.”
For further details on how to get involved and access resources to promote your fixture on TheFA.com