What is Rainbow Laces? It is a campaign started by Stonewall UK to encourage athletes, fans, teams, coaches, and organizations to put on a pair of Rainbow Laces as a show of support for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex people in sports. There is still high levels of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia that is prevalent within sports culture and the representation of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex people in sports is growing. Rainbow Laces is designed to bring education and awareness of this representation and how it is important that we continue to stand up against hate and fear. To truly make the playing field, pool, arena, court, and track; a place where we can all take part, together.

Rainbow Laces has become a worldwide campaign. Athletes, coaches, referees, fans, sportscasters and organizations in a wide diversity of sports, from Rugby, Football, Equestrian, WWE and even Rowing. From the UK to Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand all wearing their Rainbow Laces. The representation has stretched across LGBTQ+ Sports Organizations and in professional organizations, such as the New Zealand Blacks Rugby Club and Manchester United.

Rainbow Laces became especially important for rugby when just recently, former Welsh National Rugby Player Gareth Thomas was victim of an anti-gay assault.

The London Otters LGBT+ Rowing Club took the campaign a step further. In addition to wearing their Rainbow Laces, they went all decked out in Rainbow and for the 2nd year in a row, hosted their annual #RainbowRaces on November 24th which is their annual rowing event to help further the mission of Rainbow Laces. “A celebration of inclusivity against homophobia in sport, in support of Stonewall and their Rainbow Laces campaign.

Following the Hashtag #RainbowLaces you will see hundreds of pictures and posts from people all over the world showing their support!

While Rainbow Laces have been worn all week, November 28th is the official day to wear them. So, for this day, November 28th don’t forget to strap on your #RainbowLaces but remember, it’s not just about the laces…

“It’s down to all of us to be an active ally to Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people in sport.”

Stonewall UK has a few ideas on how to be an Active Ally

  • Sport has the power to bring us together.
  • Every player, every athlete, every team is stronger when sport welcomes and supports everyone.
  • It’s down to all of us to become an active allyto lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
  • It’s about working together, whether that’s playing for fun, playing to win, or cheering on your favourite athletes or team.
  • It’s about being a team mate and taking responsibility.  
  • It’s down to you to show your support for LGBT people.
  • It’s down to you to watch your language, and challenge chants and insults about LGBT people.
  • And it’s down to you to report abuse, whether online, watching live sport or taking part.
  • When we all play our part, we can make sport everyone’s game.


By Dirk Smith