By JON HOLMES
Guests at Thursday’s SJA British Sports Awards will be invited to show their support for the award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign.
The inclusion initiative, run by the equality charity Stonewall, is now in its seventh year and seeks to ‘make sport everyone’s game’ by raising awareness of the need to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Stonewall research shows four in 10 LGBT people (43 per cent) think public sporting events aren’t welcoming for them.
Rainbow Laces is supported by the Premier League and Sky Sports – members of a consortium of businesses and brands called Team Pride which help to amplify the campaign’s message – and also by over 40 national governing bodies and organisations from across British sport, including the Football Association, the ECB, England Rugby, and Team GB.
Named Campaign of the Year at last year’s Sport Industry Awards ceremony, Rainbow Laces receives an annual activation in late November and early December, with Thursday’s awards event coming after ‘Wear Your Rainbow Laces Day’ on Wednesday.
Laces will be made available to those in attendance at the Pavilion by the Tower of London, and there will also be other photo opportunities and ways to engage with the campaign.
Previous SJA British Sports Awards winners from the LGBT community include Colin Jackson (1994 Sportsman of the Year), Graeme Obree (1993 International Newcomer of the Year), and Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh (2017 National Lottery Spirit of Sport Award).
Robbie de Santos, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: “At a time when society feels increasingly divided, sport has this unique ability to bring people together from all walks of life. That’s why it’s so inspiring to see more and more sports come together each year to support Rainbow Laces.
“We can’t just rely on LGBT people to make sports more inclusive – we all have to play our part. While wearing a simple shoelace might seem like a small gesture, for LGBT people it’s a powerful symbol of acceptance.
“If you love sport and care about equality, then join us and take responsibility for making LGBT people feel welcome. The more players, fans, clubs and organisations that stand up for equality, the sooner we reach a place where all LGBT people, from fans to players, are accepted without exception.”