Rainbow Laces

Bellerin: I'm not afraid to support Gay Gooners

6 Dec 2020

Arsenal defender speaks to members of club's LGBT+ fan group before north London derby at Spurs

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The north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur is one of the biggest matches of Arsenal's season but for Hector Bellerin the busy preparations for Sunday's match were not going to stop him from showing his support for Gay Gooners, the club's LGBT+ fan group.

Bellerin took the time to speak with members of the group, which gives lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans supporters a safe and welcoming space to enjoy football and campaigns to kick homophobia out of the game.

Bellerin explained why he was happy to share a photo of a fan at a Pride march last year who was wearing a shirt with his name on it.

"I thought it was really cool," he said. "I'm not afraid to help in any way I can and I thought that was something good to do.

"I love when someone wears my shirt and they wear it proudly. Of course, I was really happy to re-post it."  

'Bellerin's support means a lot'

For the members of Gay Gooners, one of the first LGBT+ fan groups for a big club when it was formed in 2013, the backing of Bellerin was a source of joy. 

"To have someone who is a player for our club, part of our family, putting themselves out there, saying, 'I support you, your group, who you are. You are a valid part of our family and the Arsenal community,' really spoke volumes," Joe White told Bellerin during their chat on Zoom.

"It's not something many professional footballers would do.

"Using your platform, Hector, is just something that shows how much of an ally you are to us and it means a lot to us to know that we have the support of players on the pitch as well as other people in the stand."

Rainbow Laces campaign

Bellerin was speaking for the Rainbow Laces campaign, part of the Premier League's ongoing commitment to equality and diversity. 

Sunday's match will feature rainbow captain's armbands, ball plinths and boards displaying branding to remind supporters of the ongoing work that goes on across football and other sports to support and celebrate LGBT+ communities.

At Arsenal they have undertaken Stonewall’s training to deliver workshops around becoming an LGBT+ ally to participants on BTEC and Arsenal Gap Year programmes. This delivery forms part of a wider equality programme, which has included sessions on other topics such as hate crime.

“I am very proud and happy that the club I am a part of does everything they can for all the fans," Bellerin told the club's official website.

"It doesn’t matter about their gender, sexuality or race – they are always welcome to be part of our family and we are doing everything we can to make people feel safe and enjoy football."

Also in this series

Part 1: League renews partnership with Stonewall
Part 2: Rainbow Blades bringing colour to Sheff Utd
Part 3: Premier League passion in the US: Katherine's story
Part 4: Spurs proud to show support for LGBT+ community
Part 6: 'We want LGBT+ inclusion woven in the fabric of football'
Part 7: Premier League clubs show Rainbow Laces support
Part 8: Proud Baggies aiming to educate fans
Part 9: How Man Utd are creating a club for all
Part 10: Cahill: Everyone should be accepted for who they are
Part 11: Justin: It’s important to learn about LGBT issues

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