Channel Islands athletes and sports teams are lacing up once again in support of Pride in Sport. The local inclusion programme will see Guernsey and Jersey’s sporting communities come together this September to help promote the inclusion of LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators by wearing rainbow laces and sweatbands.
Sponsored by EY and supported by Jersey Sport and the Guernsey Sports Commission, the initiative intends to raise awareness and understanding of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport, and practices which discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride in Sport is launching just in time for the Channel Islands Pride celebrations, which kick off in Guernsey this Saturday. Many parties and events will take place throughout the week and will conclude in Jersey on 10 September.
CEO of Liberate in Guernsey Ellie Jones said: “The last few months have seen significant progression for LGBTQ+ equality in sport, after US trans swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender swimmer to win the US national university title in the women's 500-yard freestyle. Lia’s win put a spotlight on transphobia in sport and prompted many sporting associations to re-evaluate their stance on trans inclusion. However there is more work to be done as the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination, preventing some from taking up sport.”
The Equality Network found 62% of LGBTQ+ respondents in its ‘Out for Sport’ survey had witnessed or experiences homophobia or transphobia in sport and 73% said this discrimination was a barrier to taking part in sport.
“The rainbow laces and sweatbands are a brilliant way for our local sporting communities to show their support and stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ people”, added Ellie.
Ove Svejstrup, a Partner at EY in Guernsey, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our sponsorship of Pride in Sport in the Channel Islands. Whether it’s at home, on the sports pitch, or in the office, everyone should feel like they belong and can be authentically themselves to enable them to perform at their best. We are proud to support Liberate in the work they are doing in raising awareness of the discrimination and adversities LGBTQ+ people face and the support available.”
Phil Austin MBE, Chairman of Jersey Sport said: “Sport should be for everyone, but sadly there are some groups for whom significant barriers to participation in sport still exist. Changing this requires all of us to understand what we can do to make our sports organisations, teams, schools and associations more inclusive. We have a range of free resources available on our website to help organisations make sport inclusive and welcoming for everyone, and we’re asking the Jersey sporting community to GET INVOLVED and show their support for Pride in Sport.”
Nicky Will from the Guernsey Sports Commission added: “There is such a love of sport in the Channel Islands, whether that’s taking part in it or spectating. It’s important to foster a culture where everybody regardless of ability, race, age, gender or sexuality can enjoy sport and feel a shared sense of belonging. We’d love to see everyone involved in sport join us in (rainbow) lacing up in support of Pride.”
Due to shipping delays caused by the Felixstowe strikes, the rainbow laces are not yet on island. Please keep an eye on the Channel Islands Pride Facebook page for updates on when the accessories will be available for collection. The collection points will be:
Guernsey – The Guernsey Sports Commission office at The Coach House (8:30am-17:00pm Mon-Fri)
Jersey – Jersey Sport Offices, FB Fields (Wed 7 Sept 16:00pm-18:00pm and Fri 16 Sept 10:00am-12:00pm)
Jersey Public Library (Mon 12 Sept 12:00pm-14:00pm)
Please note: accessories will be distributed to sports on a first come, first served basis.
The organisers are also encouraging you to share pictures of you or your team wearing your “rainbow” with pride with @EYCICareers and @ChannelIslandsPride using the hashtag #PrideinSport.