Cricket: Latest Sport To Be An LGBT Ally

Two major cricket leagues in England and Wales will be demonstrating support for the Rainbow Laces campaign this weekend.

Men and women — in the NatWest T20 Blast and the Kia Super League, respectively — will be wearing rainbow-coloured shoelaces, among other displays of inclusion. Rainbow Laces is a campaign that encourages athletes to wear rainbow-coloured laces in their cleats and sneakers during matches to show support for the LGBT community.

What is the Rainbow Laces campaign?

Launched by LGBT equality charity Stonewall The Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013.

The movement began because Stonewall took to fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport. They claim that 72 per cent football fans have heard anti-LGBT remarks at games over the last five years.

If their favourite player came out one in five 18 to 24-year-olds say it would be embarrassing for them. 

The plan is for the campaign to raise awareness and tackle the present problem within sport.

5 Steps To Solidarity

The promotion is being pushed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, which lists five ways the Rainbow Laces campaign, and the rainbow in general, will be incorporated into matches this weekend:

  • All NatWest T20 Blast and Kia Super League players and umpires to wear rainbow laces during matches.
  • Prominent display of Rainbow Flags at the pre-match ‘guard of honour’ welcoming teams onto the field
  • A rainbow band decoration will sit on the stumps.
  • Sky commentators will be donning rainbow laces to show their support for the campaign.
  • Display of the Rainbow Laces flag at county grounds together with big screen support for the campaign at all grounds.

Graces Cricket Club

While researching this article, FSOG also came across an LGBT Cricket Club, ‘Graces’, to talk about the campaign and their designation as one of the few (if not the only) LGBT cricket club in England.

Graces is the world’s first LGBT cricket club, consisting of players and supporters of various nationalities and sexual orientations.

 

Based in London, they exist to provide an opportunity for people to watch and play cricket irrespective of gender or sexual orientation. Their vision is to assert upon the cricketing and wider sporting community an ideal of total equality and inclusion.

Grace’s Cricket Club was founded in April 1996 at Central Station in King’s Cross. The aim remains the same as it was then.  ‘To promote enjoyment of the game of cricket amongst the LGBT community’. Originally set up as a supporters’ group, it soon became apparent that there were enough of them to form a team.

Visibility efforts like this are good ways for organisations like the ECB, to begin its demonstration of LGBT inclusion.  We look forward to seeing what the next steps will be.

Written by: Delshad Master

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