Show your support for LGBT people in football

The East Riding County FA is making a stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football by teaming up with Stonewall, the nations leading UK campaigning charity on LGBT rights to support this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

With support from other organisations such as Football v Homophobia and Kick it Out, the campaign encourages reporting of homophobic incidents - which are hate crimes - to police, the East Riding County FA or also through the Kick it Out reporting app.

 

Homophobia has been prevalent in football for a number of years with Stonewall recently conducting a fan survey that looked at anti-gay abuse in the game. The findings were:

 

  • Three in five lesbian, gay or bi-sexual fans think football is anti-gay.
  • Sixty-three percent of fans think that fear of homophobic abuse from the stands is part of the reason that there are no openly gay players in English football.
  • Seventy per cent of fans have heard anti-gay abuse on the terraces.
  • Forty-nine per cent of lesbian, bisexual and gay fans would be more likely to attend matches if their club tackled anti-gay abuse.

 

Hate crime is any criminal offence perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate, based on a person’s sexual orientation, transgender identity, race, religion, or disability.  Hate crime victims may experience physical assault, people swearing or making abusive remarks, spitting, insulting gestures or people doing things that frighten, intimidate and cause distress.

 

If any of the behavior described above is directed towards players or fans and is perceived as being based on a person’s sexual orientation, transgender identity, race, religion, or disability will be dealt with robustly by police.  On conviction, the element of prejudice or hate will be taken into account and an enhanced sentence can be given by the court.

 

Clubs and Participation Development Officer, Chris Johnson said:

 

“We are excited to be working alongside Stonewall and the Football Association to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia so that everyone can feel free to play, coach, officiate, administer or be involved in any role in football.  An individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity should never be a barrier to participating in our national sport.

 

 “Over the past 15 years football has made enormous progress tackling discrimination from the grassroots to the highest levels of the nation’s favourite game, and we’re proud to champion equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in football.

 

Reporting Hate Crime

Victims and witnesses can report incidents to police without fear via the non-emergency number 101, or 999 if a crime is on-going. Victims can be reassured that they will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity.  However if people do not feel comfortable speaking directly to police, hate crime can also be reported online through the True Vision website which all police forces in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are signed up to.  The online report will then be forwarded to the relevant local police force.

 

Kick it Out

Football’s equality and inclusion organisation which is funded by the Football Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the Premier League and the Football League has created its own reporting app which can be downloaded onto any smart phone.  The app allows users to confidentially report incidents they may see, hear or witness at a match and allows users to attach video and audio evidence.  The report is then forwarded to the FA to investigate further.  Discriminatory behavior can also be reported to via an online form on the Kick it Out website.

 

Football v Homophobia

Football v Homophobia is an international initiative opposing homophobia in football at all levels – from grassroots to professional clubs. FvH  was originally conceived and launched by the Justin Campaign in 2010.The Justin Campaign www.thejustincampaign.com, a small voluntary run football campaign group, was founded in 2008 to demonstrate that ten years after Justin Fashanu’s tragic suicide in 1998, homophobia was still hugely prevalent in both grassroots and professional football.

 

Stonewall Rainbow Laces

In 2014, Stonewall sent a pair of Rainbow Laces to every professional footballer in the country and encouraged them to lace up and show support for LGBT individuals in the game. Players from over 70 clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester City, laced up and joined a growing movement for change. 

 

To help support this year’s campaign the East Riding County FA is looking for six teams to ‘lace up’ and wear Rainbow Laces during their team’s fixture on either Saturday 10th or Sunday 11th December 2017.

 

If you would like your team to be considered please contact Clubs and Participation Development Officer Chris Johnson on 01482 221158 or chris.johnson@eastridingfa.com

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