Sport is ‘coming out’ for LGBT equality this month to celebrate Stonewall’s award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign. Fans, sports leaders and athletes are all playing their part to kick discrimination out of sport. According to Stonewall research, four in ten LGBT people (43 per cent) think public sporting events aren’t welcoming for them.

The campaign kicks off on Friday 22 November and runs through to Sunday 8 December with gymnastics, horse racing and golf getting involved for the first time. British Gymnastics is taking Rainbow Laces to Tokyo at the Trampoline World Championships, while the British Horseracing Authority showcases LGBT role models in equestrianism. Football clubs across Britain are joining the Rainbow Laces takeover, including all Premier League clubs, FA and English Football League, Scottish Professional League and Cymru Premier clubs. Premier League and EFL clubs are competing in Rainbow Laces-themed fixtures, while the FA’s Women’s Super League is lacing up on the pitch to support LGBT equality. The League Managers’ Association and Professional Footballers’ Association are also handing out rainbow laces and pin badges to all their members. England Rugby is also having a rainbow makeover at the Red Roses’ Quilter International meeting with Italy Women.

Thousands of fans and athletes are ready to lace up on Rainbow Laces Day to show LGBT people that they are welcome in sport. Schools, businesses, clubs and individuals across Britain are also playing their part by ‘coming out’ active with a week-long series of physical activities to raise awareness of

LGBT equality in sport.

This year Stonewall also announces its first 11 Sport Champions. Athletes include Ryan Atkin, the first openly gay football referee, Philippa York, a trans woman who was one of Britain’s most successful cyclists and Tom Bosworth, who holds the world record for the one-mile race walk. The full list is in the notes to editor. Thousands of laces have been sent to businesses and schools in preparation for ‘Rainbow Laces Day’, which is taking place on Wednesday 27 November. Already more than 95,005 Rainbow Laces have been sent out.

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.’

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, Aviva, Barclays, Coca-Cola, Premier League and Sky Sports.

List of Stonewall Sport Champions:

• Amazin LeThi (bodybuilder)

• Charlie Martin (racing driver)

• Corinne Humphries (Olympic sprinter)

• John Dickinson-Lilley (Paralympic skier)

• Lizzie Williams (wheelchair racer)

• Michael Gunning (swimmer)

• Philippa York (cyclist)

• Ryan Atkin (football referee)

• Tom Bosworth (Olympic race walker)

• Huw Ware (darts referee)

• Beth Fisher (sports reporter and former hockey player)

Participating sports:

This year will have the most sports taking part in the campaign ever, which includes: Basketball Scotland, British Cycling, British Gymnastics, the British Olympic Association (Team GB), British Wheelchair Basketball, Cymru Premier England Golf, England Hockey, England Lacrosse, England Netball, England Rugby, English and Wales Cricket Board, English Football League, Great British Racing, Lawn Tennis Association, Premier League, Premiership Rugby, Professional Darts, Rugby Football League, Scottish Badminton, Scottish Football Association, Scottish Rugby, Scottish Squash, Cricket Scotland, Scottish Student Sport, Scottish Disability Sport, and Scottish Professional Football League.

TeamPride background:

TeamPride is a consortium of world-leading brands committed to making sport everyone’s game. TeamPride are Adidas, Aon, Aviva, Barclays, Coca-Cola, Premier League and Sky Sports. They make Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign possible by investing expertise and strategic guidance, engaging leading sports institutions and bodies, and creating a team of Rainbow Laces supporters through their staff and customer networks.

Stonewall background:

Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception. It was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who wanted to break down barriers to equality. Stonewall continues to campaign and lobby government to change laws to ensure everyone, everywhere, is free to be themselves. Stonewall works in partnership with a growing network of more than 750 organisations to help create real change for the better. It campaigns to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empowers LGBT people and their allies to be role models wherever they live, work, shop, socialise or pray.

To get involved visit us at www.stonewall.org.uk

Registered charity number 1101255