Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Campaign 2020

Rachel Roberts

The Rainbow Laces Campaign was launched by LGBTQ charity Stonewall in 2013, with the mission for all those involved in sports, at both elite and grassroots level, to show their support for LGBTQ+ equality and help make sporting environments more inclusive. Members of sports teams of all levels are encouraged to wear the rainbow laces on their boots when playing as a demonstration of their allyship to the community.

This year, as well as the rainbow print, laces are available in various designs to celebrate other LGBTQ+ identities, including transgender, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual and non-binary flags.

Rainbow Laces Day 2020 is on the 9th December, with the focus this year on celebrating the impact that sport has had on LGBTQ people, and the impact that LGBTQ people have had on sport.

The campaign was the recipient of the Campaign of the Year award at the BT Sports Industry awards, and its work is a key factor in changing attitudes. According to Stonewall, 12 million adults saw the campaign in 2017, and this was influential in causing the number of people aged 18-24 who thought homophobic language was acceptable to drop from 23% to 15%. Furthermore, 56% of sports fans who saw the campaign agree that more needs to be done to make LGBTQ+ people feel accepted in sport.

Their recent numbers show there is still work to do: 11% of LGBTQ+ people have been discriminated against while exercising at a fitness club or taking part in a group sport in the last year, and this figure increases to 28% for transgender people. Additionally, 14% of LGBTQ and 29% of transgender pupils are bullied during sports lessons. Therefore, the reach of the Rainbow Laces campaign will be powerful in helping to promote equality and tolerance in sporting environments and beyond.

Across two match weeks between the 4th-13th December, the Premier League will promote the Rainbow Laces Campaign

The Premier League is one of the campaign’s most high-profile supporters. In partnering with them the campaign has reached a global audience of over one billion people. Across two match weeks between the 4th-13th December, the Premier League will promote the Rainbow Laces Campaign with tailored ball plinths, handshake and substitute boards, as well as along advertising boards. For the players, there will be laces, and rainbow armbands for captains, and pin badges for broadcasters to allow everyone to demonstrate their support.

This will be alongside the work they do in their community and education initiatives such as Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks, and their work with Academies, and with Stonewall these will centre on encouraging acceptance among children and young people.

University of Nottingham Sport, alongside our Sports officer Josie Jessop, have also been supporting the campaign, encouraging students to share pictures exercising with the hashtags #runyourrainbow and #ownyourrainbow from the 22nd November – 8th December.

You can buy your laces, and learn more about the campaign and the work Stonewall do throughout the year here.

Rachel Roberts

Featured image used courtesy of Colin Mc Ewan via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. Image use license here.

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