Rainbow Laces on the radar for sports media

The sports media industry’s new network group for LGBT+ people and allies is helping to activate the inclusion in sport campaign.

The Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to ‘make sport everyone’s game’ by encouraging inclusion for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the sporting spectrum, will be brightening up back pages and digital platforms this month.

Sports Media LGBT+, the new network group for those in the industry who are LGBT and also for allies, is helping to link up editors and journalists with Stonewall, the charity which runs the campaign.

From Friday, November 24 to Saturday, December 3, sports across the UK – from professional and grassroots football and rugby union, through to rowing, cycling and many other sports – will be supporting the campaign in a variety of vibrant and visible ways.

The EFL is bringing in rainbow-coloured corner flags for the week’s fixtures, while rainbow captains’ armbands will be worn across all English and Scottish leagues. The Premier League recently announced a new three-year partnership to work with Stonewall on LGBT inclusion, and further Rainbow Laces announcements on football are expected in due course.

Meanwhile, England Rugby and Premiership Rugby are supporting the campaign across their weekend fixtures at Twickenham and club grounds at the end of the month, with many more national governing bodies coming on board with plans too.

In August, Sky Sports Digital Home Page Editor Jon Holmes (left) updated fellow SJA members on the plans for a new network group with an LGBT focus, for sports journalists and those in associated roles. Since that blog post, Sports Media LGBT+ has established a website and social media presence, and the group held its second meet-up in London on Monday night. Editors, broadcasters, journalists, PR and media officers were in attendance, and were joined by representatives from Stonewall, for a wide-ranging discussion on matters related to LGBT inclusion in sport and the media.

As well as Rainbow Laces, talking points included:

  • plans for a launch event for Sports Media LGBT+ in early 2018, with panel forums on LGBT inclusion within the industry itself, and also the quality and quantity of relevant media coverage given to athletes who are LGBT
  • the international picture, with the World Cup in Russia approaching, a widespread show of support from Australian sports for same-sex marriage, and stories from the US including Robbie Rogers’ recent retirement
  • ongoing media coverage of transgender people and those identifying as non-binary, with anticipation of how UK competitive sport may find itself in the spotlight over trans inclusion in the near future
  • the opportunity to provide tips and guidance to colleagues on content relating to LGBT people in sport, and to also engage with journalism colleges and other educational establishments

If you’d like to learn more about Sports Media LGBT+ and also the Rainbow Laces campaign, and ways to get involved in both – whether you’re LGBT yourself or an ally – email for more details.