Rainbow Round of Sport to help kick out homophobia in sport

#RainbowLacesMajor sporting codes have been invited to show that there is no place in sport for homophobia with the inaugural Rainbow Round of Sport (RROS) to be held later this month.

Australian sportswear company SKINS and ACON’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) workplace inclusion program, Pride in Diversity have partnered for the RROS to be held from 31 March to 4 April across all major sporting codes.

Prominent sports governance activist and Executive Chairman of SKINS, Jaimie Fuller says there is no place for homophobia in sport.

“As a company, we were absolutely shocked when we saw the results of a study conducted by Repucom and the Bingham Cup, released last year, which showed that only 1% of respondents believed that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people were accepted within sporting culture,” said Fuller.

The study, titled Out on the Fields also showed that 78% of respondents thought that an openly LGB person would not be safe as a spectator.

“Sport should be a place where people feel safe and welcome whether they be a player, volunteer, administrator or fan,” added Fuller.

Inspired by a similar campaign in the UK, SKINS and Pride in Diversity have invited major sporting codes and clubs to show their support for the campaign against homophobia in sport by wearing specially commissioned #RainbowLaces during the RROS. This campaign times well with the launch of Australia’s Pride in Sport Index (PSI) later this month.

“Following the 2014 commitment by Australia’s major sporting codes in signing up to the Australian Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework for Australian Sport we are excited to be launching the world’s first Pride in Sport Index (PSI) later this month,” said Andrew Purchas, Vice President of ACON and Co-Founder of the Pride in Sport Index.

“The Index will be more than just a signature on a piece of paper. It will provide the means for sports organisations to demonstrate how they are reducing homophobia and transphobia and are making sport more accessible for all. We’re really excited to be partnering with SKINS to take this campaign directly to the sporting community. We are inviting all national and state sporting organisations to participate in the Pride in Sport Index.”

Fuller said that more than anything, sport is a vehicle for inclusivity and this should extend to sexual orientation also.

“As far as we’re concerned, the only thing that should matter in sport is how you perform on the field,” said Fuller. “It’s 2016 and no-one should feel intimidated into hiding their sexuality. This is why we’re inviting the sports and their fans to lace-up and help boot homophobia out of sport for good.”

All proceeds from #RainbowLaces will go to Pride in Diversity to help support their ongoing work through the development of the PSI.

“We have established a membership program to assist national and state sporting organisations and clubs across the country to better manage the change required to be more inclusive for LGBTI people,” said Ross Wetherbee, Senior Program Manager of Pride in Diversity. “The money raised from the #RainbowLaces campaign will provide critical support.”

#RainbowLaces are available for grassroots clubs free of charge at www.rainbowlaces.net and can be picked-up for free with any footwear purchase at Rebel or Amart stores from 21 March 2016.

For more information, visit: www.rainbowlaces.net or www.acon.org.au for details.