Preston North End will be celebrating the Rainbow Laces campaign with a themed matchday for Saturday’s fixture against Wycombe Wanderers at Deepdale.
The Rainbow Laces campaign is an annual two-week activation period, taking place this year from Thursday 26th November until Sunday 13th December, and is being supported by professional clubs across the United Kingdom.
Stonewall is a registered charity which supports the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, with the Rainbow Laces campaign celebrating lesbian, gay, bi and trans inclusion in football.
Rainbow Laces has always campaigned to make sport everyone’s game. Stonewall focuses on inspiring, educating and encouraging allyship to support LGBT+ inclusion in sport.
The events of 2020 have highlighted long-standing inequalities across society, and the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on marginalised groups and the results of structural racism throughout society, including in LGBT communities and across sport.
The events of this year have also demonsrated how much community and allyship matter, and the role that sport and fitness play in bringing people together, and so many LGBT people and allies have been doing amazing work to make sport everyone’s game.
In 2019, 12 million people saw the Rainbow Laces campaign, including 35 per cent of all sport fans, leading to positive attitudinal changes towards LGBT people in sport.
Stats showed that 62 per cent of fans who saw the Rainbow Laces campaign said they feel a responsibility to stick up for LGBT fans of the teams they follow, compared to 48 per cent who didn’t see the campaign.
Moreover, 66 per cent of fans feel more confident that reports of anti-LGBT language at live sport fixtures will be taken seriously.
And 46 per cent of sports fans believe they would be more likely to challenge anti-LGBT language at live sport fixtures, and 45 per cent would be more likely to challenge it on social media.
Supporters’ Liaison Officer Hannah Woodburn said: “Although fans unfortunately still can’t be in attendance at Deepdale, it’s important that we continue to support Stonewall’s annual Rainbow Laces campaign to stand in solidarity with the LGBT+ community.
“With rainbow coloured laces, corner flags and substitution boards and more around the stadium, the Rainbow Laces matchday aims to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community and the issues they can face when playing football or attending matches as fans.
“There is no place for discrimination of any kind in modern day society and that is especially the case at Deepdale where we aim to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all supporters.”
With the campaign now in its fifth year, Rainbow Laces is again being supported by Team Pride, ensuring that despite the impact of Coronavirus, Rainbw Laces continues to drive positive change in the sporting world.
Rainbow Laces now also feature the progress Pride flag. This flag was designed to raise the visibility and mark the importance of trans and BAME LGBT people. It incorporates black and brown stripes, along with the colours from the trans flag.