Southampton Football Club was represented at Stonewall’s inaugural Rainbow Laces summit at Old Trafford this week, as part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups feel welcome at St Mary’s.
The event was run by the charity, which promotes equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and focused on tackling homophobic abuse in football and creating an atmosphere where gay players feel more comfortable talking openly about their sexuality.
FA chairman Greg Clarke spoke at the summit about the challenges the men’s game faces and used the atmosphere he witnessed at the Women’s FA Cup final last weekend as a positive example.
“I was at the Women’s FA Cup final and it was great, inclusive – there were gay people, straight people, transgender people, and it was a wonderful occasion,” Clarke said.
“It is about when the men’s game starts to feel as inclusive as the women’s game – then we are there.”
Supporter Relations Manager Khali Parsons represented Saints at the summit and found the event extremely useful.
She said: “It was great to attend the first event of this kind and be among so many other sporting organisations who are putting LGBT fan engagement at the top of their priority list.
“Also, the chance to learn more about the experiences of high-performing sports people and LGBT supporter groups was extremely valuable.
"I'd actively encourage any of our LGBT fans and staff who would like to champion this great cause to get in touch so we can really drive this agenda forward as a club."”
Saints supported the Rainbow Laces campaign earlier this season, in their home game against Everton, with a series of initiatives.
As part of the club’s One March campaign, launched earlier this season, we take a zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination, so if you see, hear or are subjected to discriminatory abuse at St Mary’s, please report it to your nearest steward, or contact our Supporter Relations Team on 02380 711980 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.