How to be a good ally to LGBTQ+ supporters

You do not need to identify as LGBTQ+ to be a member of Rainbow Devils.

Allies are wholeheartedly welcomed; the more members we have, the bigger the showing of solidarity for inclusivity within Football. Your support sends a clear message that football is for everyone and that homophobia, be it personal attacks, or chanting, aren’t acceptable in our sport.

To be an ally is simple, support your LGBTQ+ fellow supporters, friends and the wider community, and call out homophobia or discrimination when you see it.

If you agree with equality and fair treatment in society of people who identify as LGBT then you are already an ally. But there is so much more you can do if you want to be an active LGBTQ+ ally.

LGBT charity, Stonewall, recently published a list for anybody who wanted to know more about how to be a more active ally in Sport (the following is taken from their website):

1. Challenge anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes

Over the years, the culture around anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes has started to shift in the sporting world. However, more than one in five sport fans still think anti-LGBTQ+ language is harmless if it’s meant as ‘banter’ (ICM for Stonewall, 2021).

Speak up when you see or hear anti-LGBTQ+ bullying or language. Allyship is a doing word! Even if it feels hard to challenge, your actions can have a real impact and go a long way to making sure that sport is everyone’s game.

2. Celebrate LGBTQ+ people’s achievements in sport

It’s important to recognise and uplift LGBTQ+ people throughout the year, not just in the context of discrimination. This can be as simple as sharing positive news stories or interviews with LGBTQ+ people in sports on your social media channels, or with friends and family.

3. Share your pronouns

This is a simple step that anyone can take to be a trans ally within their sport community. Sharing your pronouns (if you feel comfortable) and suggesting your teammates or fellow fans do too help to create a culture where no one’s gender identity is assumed. You can share your pronouns when introducing yourself to others, in your social media bio, and in your e-mail signature.

4. Be aware of the challenges your LGBTQ+ peers might be facing

Take the time to listen to LGBTQ+ people’s experiences. Consider the ways that they could be impacted by issues such as social isolation, healthcare inequalities, or discrimination at home, in the community, or at their place or work or education.

5. Be an ally to LGBTQ+ people of colour and other people who face multiple forms of discrimination

The fight against racism in sport has been and continues to be a long and difficult one. For LGBTQ+ people of colour, sport can be an especially unwelcoming environment with barriers to inclusion and recognition. Kick It Out research showed that fans who were LGBTQ+ people of colour faced even more abuse – in stadiums and online.

You can start to tackle racism and other forms of oppression like ableism and sexism, which affect LGBTQ+ people at the intersections of these identities. Educate yourself about these issues and step up as an ally.

6. Establish or re-establish the ground rules of respect and inclusion

Every team member plays a huge role in making people feel part of a team. Whether it’s in team talks, end of season speeches, WhatsApp groups or changing room chatter – take a look at our steps to being an inclusive teammate to ensure everyone can give their all to the club and achieve their goals.

7. Make sure your club’s policies reflect their values

For many, sport and sporting environments are ‘safe spaces’ – somewhere they feel comfortable and at ease. But for others, that same place might make them feel like they have to hide part of their lives because of how others might react.

Encourage your club to follow our tips on being an inclusive sports organisation to create a space where everyone can be their authentic selves. This way, they can spend all their energy and enthusiasm on thriving in their sport!

8. Commit to continuous improvement

Whilst there can be some quick wins for LGBTQ+ inclusion, the real impact comes with continued effort. Ask yourself what else you could do to be an ally to LGBTQ+ people. Even better, ask some LGBTQ+ people too.

9. Be a visible ally! 

Wearing Rainbow Laces or a rainbow armband can go a long way to demonstrating your proud commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion. Consider how you can support the Rainbow Laces campaign and be a visible ally throughout the year.

10. Be consistent

Being an ally is about being consistent and looking out for your LGBTQ+ peers, no matter what. Join us in creating a world where every LGBTQ+ person can thrive in sport. Remember: inclusion has no off-season.

Further information

Rainbow Laces hub.