Our Supporters' Trust have been at the forefront of this, leading the way in non-league football, fully supported by Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.
Back in September on Rainbow Laces Day, the Trust approached Gavin Rose's team & a number of our players wore the laces in our FA Cup tie against Worthing; we believe we were the first semi-pro non-league club to embrace this campaign, which has been aimed at full-time professionals in the Football League & Premiership.
On our extremely successful Non League Day, later in that month, we were one of only FOUR chosen non-league clubs to act as ambassadors on the day for the anti-racism and discrimination group Kick It Out.
Following on from that the Trust applied for, and obtained a grant from the European-wide anti-discrimination FARE network. This was used to purchase the unique Dulwich Hamlet & Altona 93 anti-homophobia banners, one of which is proudly displayed behind the goal, at the Dog Kennel Hill end of our stadium. Button badges carrying the same message were also produced. In November members of the Trust took the second banner, & more badges over to Hamburg, to present to our close friends, Altona 93, from Germany.
Now we are extremely proud to be hosting a special football match next month in February, to coincide with LGBT History Month.
On Wednesday 11th February, with a 7.30pm kick off, a Dulwich Hamlet XI will be playing a friendly fixture against Stonewall FC, who are the current Gay World Football Champions, and who break down barriers by competing in the Middlesex County League Division One, which is step eight of our national non-league pyramid.
Admission will be set at Reserve Team prices, £3 for adults, concessions a mere quid. Although this is a friendly match, and should be included as 'free admission' in your season tickets, we hope that our season tickets will pay at the gate, if they choose, as all proceeds from the game are being donated to the charity chosen by Stonewall FC, namely the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
We are also producing a programme for the match, as well as running a raffle at the game...and all the money raised from those two will also go to the Foundation.
Dulwich Hamlet Committee member Mishi Morath said:
" Other football clubs say they're against things, but in many cases it's just lip service. We're not just saying 'We're against homophobia,' we're trying to welcome gay fans to Dulwich. That sums up the ethos of the club, we try to go that bit further. We've got a mixture of everyone. The atmosphere is buzzing at games. More and more we have become the talk of non-league football. And reaching out to what people perceive as the non-footballing community can only strengthen us all as a Club."
Further to this, similar to the succesful (free admission for) Students Day when we played Bognor Regis Town earlier this season, we are holding a free voucher day for any of the London LGBT community who would like to come to our home match with Metropolitan Police, at the end of February, & Football Club will be working hard to make this a success, by publicising it, alongside our Supporters Trust.
Duncan Hart, from the Trust, explains:
"We are delighted that the Club continue to offer these great introductory deals to all of our community so that they can experience and enjoy the fantastic welcome and atmosphere at Champion Hill, as well as watch the the brilliant football being produced on the pitch. We are really looking forward to continuing this good work across the whole Club."
Final word, for now goes to Eric Najib, manager of Stonewall Football Club:
"As a Club we are proud, honoured and pleased to take part in this game at Champion Hill & we really applaud everything Dulwich Hamlet are doing in terms of this match, and the ticket promotion for the Metropolitan Police game. It will will a great experience to play this friendly match, and we're all looking forward to it."