Laces, captains and referees armbands, scoreboards, ball holders and even the Wembley arch in London were awash in rainbow colors this weekend in England as part of a sportswide campaign supporting LGBT inclusion and combating homophobia in sports.
Soccer clubs from the English Premier League and pro rugby teams were among the sports participating in the Rainbow Laces campaign, sponsored by the LGBT rights group Stonewall.
Stonewall cites surveys showing 72% of football fans have heard homophobic abuse; 63% of people say more should be done to make LGBT people feel accepted in sport; 63% of young people say that open LGBT players would have a positive impact on the culture of sport; and 55% of sports fans say they wish more sports players felt free to come out.
Openly gay pro soccer referee Ryan Atkin said the symbolism of the campaign is important.
“I don’t think as much education has gone into inclusivity and acceptance,” he said. “We have made great strides when it has come to racism and making sure we treat people from all ethnic backgrounds equally. For me the rainbow laces campaign is about the building blocks to making change.”
Here are some images from the weekend: