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GLOBAL ORGANISATIONS COME TOGETHER TO HELP TACKLE HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORT

Stonewall, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has confirmed that its Rainbow Laces campaign is set to return in November thanks to the support of the newly-formed TeamPride coalition.

The Rainbow Laces movement aims to show that everyone can participate and enjoy sport, whoever they are and whatever their background. Major global organisations including Aon, adidas and Aviva have come together to show their support for the campaign, by joining TeamPride as founding members.  TeamPride will bring together organisations from many different sectors to work together, and with Stonewall, to create inclusive and equal environments in sports of all levels for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. 

The return of Rainbow Laces follows new ICM research for Stonewall into homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes and experiences among sports fans. It reveals that 18- to 24-year-olds are the group most likely to hold homophobic views. While most sports fans are supportive of LGBT players, with 9 in 10 (89 per cent) saying they would be either ‘proud’ or ‘neutral’ if their favourite player came out as gay, there continues to be a persistent minority who express homophobic views, particularly among young people.

The research shows that 18- to 24-year-olds are twice as likely to agree that it is acceptable to make homophobic remarks (21 per cent), compared to 11 per cent overall. Young people are also twice as likely to say they would be embarrassed if their favourite player came out as gay - 22 per cent compared to 12 per cent of all respondents.

Stonewall is now looking for more organisations to join TeamPride, to provide further resources and support, enable the charity to tackle the problems raised in the research and raise awareness of the problems of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport. November’s campaign week will engage the public by asking them to wear Rainbow Laces and organise Rainbow Laces events to show they stand by the side of LGBT sports people at all levels. TeamPride will also be the headline sponsor for successful inclusive football club, Stonewall FC, in the 2016 / 2017 season.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: 'We’re pleased that such powerful organisations have stepped up and given their support to our Rainbow Laces campaign, and now we urge more organisations to become part of our team. Sport should be everyone’s game but sadly, the research released today shows that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse continues to heard on the terraces and in sports arenas across Britain. This abuse makes LGBT fans and players feel unsafe, unwelcome and unable to be themselves. This needs to change, and to make that happen, we need the support of high profile sports clubs and personalities this November. We all have a responsibility to show that sport is for everyone.’

Phil Clement, ‎Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Aon said: ’Aon is proud to be a part of TeamPride and I firmly believe the group holds an enormous ability to influence the sports industry. There is still much more we need to do before all LGBT people can live freely as themselves. Sport unites us all and TeamPride and Stonewall are committed to making sport everyone’s game by raising awareness of these issues this November.’

Robin Stalker, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Board Member, adidas said: ‘We’re thrilled to be part of the newly formed TeamPride coalition. Sport should be open to everyone and Stonewall’s research sadly demonstrates that there is still a long way to go until we can say this is the case. We believe that through sport we have the power to change lives and through sports we can make this change happen. We are incredibly proud to be working with other organisations as part of TeamPride to support Stonewall and ensure that sport is for everyone.’

Peter Markey, Brand & Marketing Communications Director, Aviva UK said: ‘We are very pleased to be part of the new TeamPride coalition, and look forward to supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign through our sponsorship of Aviva Premiership Rugby and Norwich City FC.  This is an important opportunity to continue the great work Stonewall has done to ensure that sport is an arena that is inclusive for all.  Being able to join forces with other organisations, who share our commitment to this, is hugely exciting. We look forward to working with the other TeamPride members, and Stonewall, to do great things for those who watch and play sport.’

Jamie Feldman, Club Secretary, Stonewall FC said: ‘Stonewall FC is thrilled to have TeamPride as our principal sponsor for the upcoming season. We hope that together, under the TeamPride banner, we are able to eradicate all forms of discrimination in sport, particularly at the grass-roots football level that we play in. Having the TeamPride logo prominently displayed across our shirts will greatly increase the awareness of the campaign, and we are delighted to be involved.’

Stonewall has already developed a range of measures to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia at the grassroots level. This includes a training programme for sports coaches who work with young people so they can ensure they are making sport inclusive. The charity has also developed a toolkit to build awareness and understanding of the issues affecting LGBT people, and how they can help ensure all sports offer an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.

Schools and clubs have also signed up to join in with the week of action in November to show that we can all play a part in making sport everyone’s game. For more information on Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign please visit http://www.stonewall.org.uk/.    

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