I’m putting out a little plea this week to urge you to ‘Come Out Active’ to support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Campaign.
Admittedly, I’ll just be chucking them in my Superstars to mooch about town rather than to run a marathon or smash a squash ball – but surely it’s the thought that count isn’t it!
Seriously though, I’ve always supported this much-needed yearly shout out that was initially launched on the football field in 2013.
It has now spread to community, national and international level – in sports as diverse as cricket, rugby, basketball, judo, netball, darts and cycling.
This is both incredible and inspiring – but, as always, there is unfortunately so much more to do.
Shockingly, in my view, recent Stonewall research shows that four in ten LGBT people still don’t think sport events are welcoming places for people like them.
One in ten, which rises to three in ten in our trans community, also say they have been discriminated against in a sport or fitness setting.
What the Hell is that all about!
Sport, whether played or watched brings so many big benefits. Back in the day, I always loved being part of a team or club.
Now I love cheering on my favourite footie team, and always pop along to watch the many local races, fun runs and marathons.
There is of course the many mental and physical benefits to keeping fit and active too.
I’m not so hot on that one these days so must do better, but would hate to think if I actually got my healthy head back on, that I would be treated differently because of who I happen to love.
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not all doom and gloom, and I do get that there has been great strides in the sporting world which should rightly be celebrated.
The Rainbow Laces campaign has blossomed, with many professional bodies collaborating with Stonewall. There are fan groups affiliated to professional clubs or groups driving change, and there are many powerful Ambassadors out there.
Telling though that there’s not one Out footballer in the Premier league – and I bet there’s scores of other elite athletes who remain firmly in the dressing room closet.
That is why Stonewall are asking everyone to Come Out Active – it’s such a simple way of opening up the conversation, and supporting us all.
All you have to do is sign up, do something physical with your laces in, and tell your friends, family and colleagues about why you support LGBT equality in sport.
Why not get your regular running team to raise some cash wearing the laces, or asking your cycle team to don them whilst on a sponsored pedal?
Spectators can also nip them on, whether it’s when watching the kids’ Sunday morning rugby match, or feeling the pain at the next Bluebirds game.
This is also so not for those that live the LGBT life only. Allies are so powerful so please whoever you are, whatever you play, and whomever you watch, get involved.
The ‘Come Out Active’ starts on November 23 and runs for a week.
It is outrageous that some of our people are excluded, from what for most, is an everyday competing or spectating delight.
Please lace up for us!
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.
She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.