Close to one million Rainbow Laces snapped up for LGBT+ inclusion in sport

Stonewall releases new identity Rainbow Laces celebrating lesbian, bi, pan, ace, trans and non-binary people to promote this year’s campaign

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Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, is re-launching its award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign in partnership with TeamPride, for the fifth year.

Since the campaign’s conception, the charity has sent out close to one million pairs of their Rainbow Laces and are now expanding on their range of laces. The campaign aims to make sport everyone’s game, and brings sport communities together to champion inclusion for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in sport.

Athletes, fans, clubs, grassroots community groups, schools, business and individuals across the UK and further afield have been lacing up for years to show their support for LGBT+ people in sport. Now as well as the original rainbow design, they will be able to lace up to celebrate specific identities under the LGBT+ umbrella, including the lesbian, bi, pan, ace, trans and non-binary flags.

It  kick off on Thursday 26th November and run through to 13th December 2020, with activities planned across sport and online.

Over its five-year run, the campaign has been changing attitudes across sport. Last year, polling from the charity found that the vast majority of British people (65 per cent) think it’s important that anti-LGBT language and abuse is challenged in live sporting events. But despite this, four in ten LGBT+ people (43 per cent) think public sporting events aren’t welcoming for them.

This year has seen LGBT+ communities particularly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and for many people sport has become more important than ever. But 2020 hasn’t only highlighted inequalities for LGBT+ people, with events across the globe showing the impact of structural racism across society, including within the LGBT+ community, and throughout sport.

Because of this, this re-launch of the Rainbow Laces campaign will shine a light on the importance of allyship and community.

The campaign would usually see fans and athletes alike lacing up and putting on huge, visible displays of support on the field and in the stadium. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s activity is set to look slightly different, sharing stories of how sport has helped many LGBT+ people find a safe and supportive community and get through the year.

But with athletes and clubs still raring to show their support, all sorts of digital and sporting activity will be lined up through the month including from the Premier League, EFL, SPFL, FA and Barclays FA Women’s Super, RFU Women’s Premier 15s, Great British Racing, Premiership Rugby, England Golf, Wales Lacrosse and Scottish Athletics as well as support from the charity’s Stonewall Sport Champions.

Maria Munir, Associate Director of Community Engagement at Stonewall (pronouns: they/them) said: ‘It’s fantastic that we’ve sent out close to one million laces across the UK and beyond. It shows what a phenomenal symbol lacing up has become for LGBT+ people.

‘We also know that the campaign and all of the hard work being done by clubs, teams and managers across the country is making a real difference. Our research found that two thirds (66 per cent) of fans feel more confident that reports of anti-LGBT+ language at live sport fixtures will be taken seriously after seeing the Rainbow Laces campaign. We’ve seen a steady growth in the proportion of fans who would report anti-LGBT abuse online or in stadiums too.

‘During a year which has exacerbated challenges for LGBT+ communities, sport has become even more important to keep up spirits and provide a vital support system so we can continue to be there for one another. That’s why we’re so pleased to be running Rainbow Laces this year, with a real focus on the importance of community and allyship, including in support of LGBT+ people of colour, disabled people, and trans people.

‘While the campaign is sure to look a bit different this year, we’re encouraging everyone to lace up with us. From workouts in your flat, to weekly quizzes with your lacrosse team, we’re showing up for ourselves and one another. Now is the time for every club, team, and individual, from elite to grassroots and community sport, to show their support for all LGBT+ people and work towards truly making sport everyone’s game.’

The Rainbow Laces campaign is made possible by TeamPride, a consortium of world-leading brands committed to making sport everyone’s game. TeamPride members are adidas, Aon, Barclays, Coca-Cola, Premier League and Sky Sports.

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