Leaders in Sport gather for Rainbow Laces Summit
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Leaders in sport gather for Rainbow Laces Summit

  • Stonewall hosts annual LGBT sport summit at Wembley to discuss LGBT inclusion 

  • Role models including Tom Bosworth and Amazin LeThi speak about visibility in sport

  • Premier League’s Bill Bush and FA’s Martin Glenn highlight the importance of leadership

Athletes, sports leaders and fan groups from across Britain gathered at Wembley Stadium for Stonewall’s third Rainbow Laces Summit on Friday, 14 September.

A series of panel discussions and networking sessions provided delegates with the space to discuss how to create sporting environments that are inclusive of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. 

Role models including racing driver Charlie Martin, athlete Tom Bosworth, referee Ryan Atkin and bodybuilder Amazin LeThi spoke about the importance of visibility in sport and offered their personal experiences of being LGBT in sport. 

Around 200 representatives from sports including hockey, golf, judo, netball, swimming, wheelchair rugby, equestrianism and football attended the one-day event in London. 

Stonewall’s new Director of Sport Kirsty Clarke also unveiled the charity’s new strategy for LGBT inclusion in sport.  

The summit is part of an annual calendar of events in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which has been running for the past five years. 

While national conversations about LGBT people in sport often focus on football, Stonewall is keen to highlight that all sports could be doing more to ensure LGBT people can enjoy sport – either as athletes or fans.

Both Martin Glenn, Chief Executive of the Football Association and William Bush, Director of Policy at the Premier League highlighted the importance of senior leadership in creating change. 

The Premier League last year signed a three-year strategic partnership with Stonewall and the Football Association are now in talks with the LGBT charity about forming a similar relationship. 

The Premier League is also part of TeamPride, a coalition of organisations that help make the Rainbow Laces campaign happen, through both financial and strategic support. 

TeamPride members are adidas, Aon, Aviva, Barclays, eBay, Manchester United, O2, Premier League, Sky Sports and Visa. 

Members of TeamPride gave delegates a sneak preview of what they have planned for this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which is taking place in November. 

Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s Director of Sport, said: ‘It’s absolutely crucial that Stonewall works with people across all sports and at all levels to create environments that are welcoming and inclusive.  Sport is a unifying experience where people form strong bonds – either as teamates, or by cheering together as fans or, on the bad days, commiserating together. 

‘We want LGBT people to feel part of whatever sport they choose from their very first experience and throughout their lives. We need LGBT people to be able to access the health and wellbeing that sport offers and we need to ensure we’re utilising the power sport has to change attitudes both nationally and internationally.’