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Rainbow Laces

'Allyship is about standing up for your mates'

25 Oct 2022
West Ham United, Pride of Irons, Jo Bailey

DJ Sonny Jay meets West Ham's LGBTQIA+ supporters' group to discover how to be a better ally

As the Premier League continues its celebration of the Rainbow Laces campaign this week, DJ Sonny Jay met West Ham United's LGBTQIA+ supporters' group Pride of Irons to find out how he and others can be a better ally.

"Everyone always says about being an ally, but it's really about being a decent person, right from wrong, and standing up for your mates," says Pride of Irons co-chair, Jo Bailey. "I go to football with my straight mates and they'll stand by us.

"Once Pride of Irons does not exist, we will have done our job and the world will be a better place."

Now in its seventh year, Pride of Irons has been giving a voice to LGBTQIA+ fans, their friends and families while fostering an inclusive environment.

Lifelong West Ham fan Bailey has welcomed a change in attitudes and acceptance since the 1990s, along with a growing sense of community.

"You [used to] get nudged as you were walking to the station, nothing really physical but getting blanked, or the stares and the certain looks," she recalls. "To feel not comfortable and then not welcome, it was easy to walk away.

"But now I'm older, I'm harder than I was before, and I don't want anyone else to feel like that. We're here, we'll all support each other. It's safe to come back to football."

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