The Premier League and our clubs continue to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, recognising LGBTQ+ inclusion and making it clear that football is for everyone.
Ahead of that match Jacob Jefferson and David Stronell, members of Gay Gooners and Rainbow Hatters respectively, spoke about the importance of their clubs' LGBTQ+ supporters’ groups and Rainbow Laces.
“If anybody doesn’t feel welcome at a football match, we’re all doing something wrong," Jacob said, with Gay Gooners being one of the first LGBTQ+ fan groups when it was formed in 2013.
"Groups like the Gay Gooners provide a community for fans. We sit together, we socialise, we create a wonderful environment where everybody feels valued and included, no matter who they are.
The @RainbowHatters1 and @gaygooners met ahead of @LutonTown v @Arsenal at Kenilworth Road to celebrate Rainbow Laces 🏳️🌈— Premier League (@premierleague) December 6, 2023
We spoke to two of their inspiring members, David and Jacob, about why championing diversity and equality in our game and wider society is so important...… pic.twitter.com/xRYorZnkXb
“Rainbow Laces is a reminder that football is welcome to all fans. A lot of people say, ‘Why do we need to do this every year?’, but it’s important because things are still happening that make people feel unwelcome and uncomfortable, and that’s not fair.
"Who knows what will happen over the next 10 years? I think we just want more of our fans to feel welcome - to not feel like they have to hide themselves.
“We’re a group that’s open to everybody, not only members of the LGBTQ+ community [but] people who love football, and for whom football is a massive part of life. We want to be a part of the Arsenal and football family."
We want to help make everybody feel included
David, chair of Rainbow Hatters, said: “Groups like ours are important, because we want to help make everybody feel included.
"It doesn’t matter where you’re from, your race, your creed, your sexuality, everyone should be welcome to go to a football match and enjoy it.
“I think Rainbow Laces brings everybody together. It gives us the opportunity to engage with fans and remind everyone that we still have these issues.
“I hope in the next 10 years we won’t need Rainbow Laces. I hope by then that the need for it has gone.
“If somebody from the LGBTQ+ community is reluctant to come to a Luton match, I encourage them to get in touch with us. We will help and support them, it’s one family here at Luton Town.”