On Friday 20th September SAYiT team member Oliver Harrap & SAYiT trustee James Laley attended the first Fans for Diversity conference in London at the Amnesty HQ, organised by the Football Supporters Association and Kick It Out. The day was about celebrating fans who make a difference in the game, raising awareness of LGBT+ inclusion in football and sharing best practice. The event also had the Fans for Diversity awards which Sheffield Rainbow Laces had put a nomination in for.
The event had a large amount of LGBT+ fan groups representing many different clubs from up and down the country. We also had the opportunity to talk to people all doing great and positive things to stop discrimination in football. They were many inspirational speakers and we had the pleasure to listen to Sophie Cook. She is the Bournemouth FC club photographer who is also a transgender woman. When she came out to the club the team gave her a standing ovation and manager Eddie Howe said “What can I do to support you and make things as easy as possible?” It made us both realise that amongst all the negativity in football around discrimination they are just as many positive stories.
We both took a massive amount from this conference from making new connections, taking new ideas and how not just football but all sport can positively contribute to the lives of young LGBT+ people that use SAYiT. It has also helped us see new ways we can progress the Sheffield Rainbow Laces initiative and continue to grow this in the community and raise awareness.
The inaugural Sheffield Rainbow Laces Cup match between South Yorkshire and Derbyshire will take place at 1pm, November 16th at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. For more information, or if you would like to purchase a ticket for the match, please click here