Preston North End have joined Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign to show that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are welcome at every level of sport and that homophobia is unacceptable.
To mark the week of action which begins today (22/11/16), Preston North End Community and Education Trust has temporary changed the colours of its logo to the iconic rainbow colours associated with the charity.
The Rainbow Laces weekend follows research by ICM that reveals homophobic language is still regularly heard at live sporting events. 72 per cent of football fans have heard anti-LGBT remarks at live games in the past five years.
Despite this, the majority of people support LGBT people in sport according to the research, with nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) saying more should be done to make LGBT people feel accepted.
This weekend Stonewall, the leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, is calling on fans, players and governing bodies to visibly show their support for LGBT people in sport.
Preston North End are one of dozens of football clubs backing the campaign, which has been endorsed by Premiership Rugby, the Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association.
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Chief Executive, said: “Such high-profile support is crucial for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people who want to take part in sport, either as players or fans, but feel unsafe, unwelcome or unable to be themselves. We need fans, players, clubs and governing bodies to stand up as allies so that we can make sport everyone’s game.
“Homophobic abuse has absolutely no place in sport, either at grass roots or professional level, yet there is a persistent, and vocal, minority who believe anti-LGBT language is harmless.
“The majority of people believe homophobic chants and abuse are a problem, and this weekend is about encouraging that majority to step up and show they will not stand for this abuse.”
Stonewall has developed a range of measures to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport. This includes a training programme for sports coaches who work with young people so they can ensure they are making sport inclusive. The charity has also developed a sports toolkit for grassroots and community sport to build awareness and understanding of the issues affecting LGBT people, and how they can help ensure all sports offer an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign is supported by TeamPride, a group of global organisations committed to LGBT equality.