The Rainbow Laces campaign, which takes place 8 December and is an initiative led by Stonewall, is an opportunity for the University community to show their allyship for LGBT+ people in sport.
Just last year, ICM found that 20% of sport fans think anti-LGBT+ language is harmless if it’s meant as banter. Furthermore, in 2017 a survey run by YouGov revealed that 43% of LGBT+ people think public sporting events are not a welcoming space for them. These statistics show that more work needs to be done and that visibility alone cannot create positive change; we need to commit to safe and secure spaces for LGBT+ members in our University community and have meaningful conversations with our peers to ensure sport is everybody’s game at Loughborough.
The University previously ran the campaign in 2019, where more than 1,300 laces were sold to staff, students and campus partners thanks to the support from AU Clubs, halls of residences, and Loughborough Sport.
If you would like to purchase a pair of Rainbow Laces, you can visit the University Library or the James Frances Exhibition Area on 8 December between 10am-4pm.
Laces cost £2.50 and in addition to the Rainbow design, this year there will be a variety of designs on sale to represent the different identities within the LGBT+ community.
In addition, the LGBT+ Student Association has narrowed down two charities to raise money for on the day, and today on the Lborosport Instagram you can vote for Sport Allies or LEAP Sports Scotland to be the chosen cause.
Issie Birkenstaff, the LGBT+ Student Association Chair said: “Lacing up in the pride colours is so important because it’s a conversation starter. As students at a university renowned for sports, we try to be vocal and visible in pushing for a world in which no one has to choose between loving their sport and being themselves. Whether you’re LGBT+ or an ally, we hope you will take the opportunity this Rainbow Laces Day and beyond to get people talking about how we can ensure sporting and fitness spaces are safe, fun and affirming for all people.”
Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network Chris McLeod added: “Wearing rainbow laces is a fantastic way to show visible support for LGBT+ people, whether you’re LGBT+ yourself or an ally of the community. This national campaign is especially important for us as members of the Loughborough University community where we have significant leverage in the world of sport. We hope all students, staff and sportspeople alike can pick up some laces around campus and wear them with pride.”
We’d love to see any photos of you proudly wearing your Rainbow Laces; simply share online using the #LboroLaces hashtag, or tag @lborouniversity. Please send over any club videos of you playing in your Rainbow Laces too, as we’ll be creating a special Rainbow Laces TikTok video and want to feature as many teams as possible.