Football clubs across England will be lacing-up to help inspire, educate, and encourage allyship to support LGBT+ inclusion from 26th November to 13th December.
We're joining The FA, the Premier League, the Football League, the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, the FA Women’s Championship and thousands of National League System and grassroots clubs in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to work across communities to ‘Make Sport Everyone’s Game’.
This year’s campaign centres around allyship, which means being supportive of equal civil rights, gender equality and LGBT+ social movements, challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Rainbow Laces can be worn on the pitch, when possible, with the campaign also focusing on online support to celebrate and galvanise LGBT+ people and allies across communities.
Wednesday 9th December will be Rainbow Laces Day, with everybody encouraged to share their support online. In 2018, The FA announced a partnership with Stonewall, which has seen the organisation commit to joining its ‘Diversity Champions’ programme and working together on developing and delivering staff training and empowerment for FA employees.
In recent years, the Essex County FA have been proud to support Rainbow Laces. The combined efforts of grassroots clubs and leagues continues to use football as a vehicle to generate awareness of, and help tackle, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia abuse.
While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to encourage people to be active allies of LGBT+ people and to make the game truly inclusive. Research from Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity, says more than two in five [43%] think public sporting events are not a welcoming space for LGBT+ people.
Research also shows that Covid-19 is having a negative impact across LGBT+ communities, with many experiencing isolation and poor mental health. Cindi Chatha, County FA Football Development Officer said: “We’re committed to making the game truly accessible to everyone.”
“That means harnessing the power of football to help further educate and encourage allyship to support LGBT+ communities across our region. We are proud to support Rainbow Laces and, each year, we’re seeing greater awareness and an increasing willingness from people to tackle all forms of discrimination. This is a significant next step to making the game inclusive for all.”
Want to learn more about how to support Rainbow Laces, or share a story? For further details, click on this link, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.