Over 400 pairs of rainbow laces were distributed to students and staff at Northumbria Sport in support of the LGBTQ+ community through the “Rainbow Laces” campaign.
Monday 23 October marked the start of the week-long Rainbow Laces campaign at Northumbria Sport. Sports clubs, alongside Northumbria staff, interns and volunteers, were all offered opportunity to continue to show support to the LGBTQ+ community through training sessions and by wearing rainbow laces on matchdays.
Kicking off on Monday 23 October, 11 clubs attended a training session promoting LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Student Sport, which was led by Stonewall - an organisation who stand for the lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) community.
Following on from this, Wednesday 25 October saw sports clubs lace up their footwear with rainbow laces for both home and away BUCS fixtures. This simple gesture illustrates how Northumbria are active in their ongoing support of the LGBTQ+ community - both in sport and throughout society.
Northumbria Lacrosse have taken their support of Rainbow Laces above and beyond, by continuing to wear their laces for the entirety of the season. Northumbria Sport is proud to support Lacrosse’s efforts to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and should any other sports clubs like to follow suit, please get in contact with Andy.Barton@northumbria.ac.uk.
Alongside the wearing of rainbow laces, an ‘LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Sport’ e-Learning course was promoted all week to our volunteers, interns, club committee members and staff. The course helps participants to further their understanding of best practice associated with LGBTQ+ inclusion, and how this message can be spread to others. This helps to ensure all genders and sexualities feel welcomed and included within sport at Northumbria University.
Lee James, a member of Northumbria University Boat Club, has shared their experiences within sport at Northumbria:
"I am a trans rower who has been rowing for 10 years. I recently started testosterone treatment which means I'm not eligible to race in the women's and not strong enough (and also would have to navigate anti-doping regulations) to compete in the open.”
Lee explains how: “When I started this journey, I was heartbroken about the loss of competitive rowing. However, I joined Northumbria Boat Club as a Cox. I'm really happy that I have the opportunity to continue competing and refuelling my love for rowing, whilst feeling affirmed in my gender."
Lee’s experience in sport at Northumbria is a great way to highlight the importance of the work Stonewall carries out and the awareness that campaigns such as Rainbow Laces can generate.
The campaign is currently celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary and aims to lead the way for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport specifically. Despite successfully establishing itself over 10 years, Stonewall is keen to stress the importance of not resting on its laurels.
The ‘Keep It Up’ movement, by Stonewall , has been designed to continue to ensure that awareness remains to be raised about LGBTQ+ participation and representation in sport. Additional details are available https://www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/rainbow-laces, should you find yourself wanting to support the campaign further.
At Northumbria, we are proud to stand by Stonewall in promoting the message that sport is for everyone, and that the LGBTQ+ is always welcome to participate in Northumbria Sport.
If you have any questions or queries regarding any of the topics discussed in this piece, please do not hesitate to contact Andy.Barton@northumbria.ac.uk.