- Rainbow Laces celebrates its 9th anniversary as Stonewall urges sport to continue to Lace Up and Keep Up the fight to make sport everyone’s game.
- Iconic brands in TeamPride, including Sky Sports, Adidas and the Premier League, as well as grassroots clubs and fans are celebrating changing attitudes – and coming together to renew their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.
- New research* from ICM/Walnut and Stonewall shows that over the last five years the proportion of sport fans who think homophobic remarks in sport are acceptable has almost halved - dropping from 25% in 2017 to 14% in 2022.
- The Rainbow Laces campaign is highlighting the plight of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar as we gear up for the World Cup. The World Cup is an event where the global sporting community needs to stand up and call out the criminalisation and persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar.
Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bi, and trans equality charity, is launching its award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign for its 9th year and calling on fans to Keep Up the fight for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport – despite the significant progress in that time, there is more still to do.
New research from ICM/Walnut and Stonewall shines a light on the transformative impact of the iconic Rainbow Laces campaign. Over the last five years, the proportion of sport fans who think homophobic remarks in sport are acceptable has almost halved - from 25% in 2017 to 14% in 2022. This follows five years of dedicated campaigning by Stonewall and sporting bodies such as the Premier League, FA, Premiership Rugby and leading sponsors who are part of TeamPride.
Together we have made fantastic progress, but there is still a way to go before all LGBTQ+ people are truly welcomed as equals in sport and are able to be ourselves both on and off the pitch. This year, a number of openly LGBTQ+ athletes have taken prominence and inspired the nation. Whether it’s Jake Daniels coming out or the proud lesbian and bi inclusion of the Lionesses in this year’s Euros-winning England Women’s Football team, LGBTQ+ people in sport have never been more visible.
Despite this progress we know that many LGBTQ+ people still feel unsafe and unwelcome at sporting events and fitness facilities. The research shows that sport fans are not confident that competitive sport is a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ sport personalities. Just 4 in 10 sport fans think competitive sport is welcoming for gay and bi men (40%) or lesbian and bi women (43%). Just 3 in 10 fans (29%) think competitive sport is welcoming for trans sport personalities.
So, although it’s been heartening to see brave athletes like Jake Daniels, Zander Murray and Josh Cavallo comfortable playing as their authentic selves, our campaign to make sport everyone’s game is far from over.
The campaign is encouraging people to continue to lace up, speak up and keep it up. We need everyone to push for change year-round. because inclusion has no off season.
Liz Ward, Director of Programmes at Stonewall, (she/her) said: “Sport has the unparalleled ability to bring us together. From Premier League Clubs to grassroots teams and local gyms, it’s been fantastic to see so many people coming together to fight for a more inclusive sporting world this Rainbow Laces season.
‘Since the beginning of the Rainbow Laces campaign, we’ve seen awareness grow and grow, with more than one million laces modelled in boots across the world’s pitches and, as a result, we’ve seen attitudes fundamentally shift – the majority of Britons are now supportive of LGBTQ+ athletes.
‘However, we cannot become complacent. This new research shows that the public recognise that there is more work to do to create a world where LGBTQ+ people are free to be themselves both on and off the pitch.
‘So, this Rainbow Laces season, it’s vital that we all ‘Keep it Up’ and truly make sport everyone’s game.”
The value of inclusion in sport has never been more critical as we approach the Qatar World Cup. Liz Ward said: 'As we approach the 2022 Men's World Cup, we must remember that Qatar is country where LGBTQ+ people are persecuted simply for being themselves. Sadly, this year’s tournament is not safe for everyone, which is why it's so important to see players and fans stand up to be counted.
'The World Cup is a vital moment for the global sporting community to stand up and call out the criminalisation and persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar.'