The importance of being an LGBT+ ally

There are many barriers to LGBT+ sport participation and Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign emphasises the impact sport has on LGBT+ people and the impact LGBT+ people have on sport. In the lead up to BWFC’s Rainbow Laces fixture on Saturday 5th December against Port Vale, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust are promoting and discussing LGBT+ inclusion across our Social Media channels.

 Today we are amplifying Stonewall’s message by focussing on the importance of being an ally to the LGBT+ community, helping to celebrate and support those who are underrepresented across society and across sport. Below are 4 simple ways in which we can all act as a voice for marginalised communities and we urge fans and supporters to realise that we all have a crucial role to play to make sport everyone’s game.

Pronouns

Pronouns are ways in which people refer to someone’s gender (i.e. he/she/they/ze). If you feel comfortable to, start introducing yourself at meetings using your preferred pronoun, or maybe add it to your email signature or online video call profile name. Doing this ensures that not only do we not assume people’s gender, but we also create a safe and welcoming space for people to feel comfortable about sharing their own identities. This is a simple step to becoming a Trans ally in your everyday life.

 Recognise the challenges your LGBT+ peers/colleagues may be facing and support them.

LGBT+ Foundation research shows that 52% of LGBT+ people experience depression and 27% of LGBT+ people said isolation was their top concern during lockdown. Take the time to listen to your LGBT+ peers and acknowledge the struggles or challenges they may be facing. They may feel they have to censor what they say in order to be socially accepted, so try to help create a safe and welcoming environment so everyone is able to be themselves.

 Challenge Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Acephobia.

It’s great to know that 46% of people say they feel confident challenging anti-LGBT language online, however there is still a long way to go, especially within sport. Speak up when you witness anti-LGBT language or behaviour – this is especially important in football, whether that be on the pitch during grassroots games or in the stands during professional games. As an ally you can educate the people around you, making sure that LGBT people don’t have to do all the work on their own. It’s not always easy to use your voice but it’s a fundamental part of being an ally and can make a big difference for LGBT people in sport.

 Be a visible ally!

You can support Stonewall and the LGBT+ community by buying your Rainbow Laces now! This will demonstrate your proud commitment to LGBT+ inclusion and help amplify the voices that sometimes struggle to be heard. It’s easier than you think to do your part to ensure that sport is everyone’s game!

For more information on Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign and see how else you can support the LGBT+ community, visit www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/rainbow-laces

Beth Warriner – BWCT EDI Lead

Be Social and Spread the Word!