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Premiership Rugby and the Steelers champion inclusion through celebratory LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend

Premiership Rugby and the Steelers champion inclusion through celebratory LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend

James Stott23 Jan - 14:15
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The Steelers support the Premiership's LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend

Continuing their mission to improve inclusivity and representation across the game, Premiership Rugby and its clubs have reimagined Round 12 (26th -28th January) ‘LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend’ in a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

The partnership with International Gay Rugby (IGR) continues this season with each Premiership club partnering with a local IGR club to improve education on the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community, whilst fostering greater relationships at a grassroots level.

Wayne Morris, Community & CSR Director, Premiership Rugby explains:

“The LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend is a very clear statement that Premiership Rugby is committed to raising awareness, ensuring inclusion and stamping out discrimination at every level. The work of Stonewall and IGR unfortunately is far from over, so we are proud to stand amongst allies in the battle for equality on and off the pitch. The fact that 82% of LGBTQ+ people who take part in sport experience or witness prejudice and 43% of LGBTQ+ people feel unsafe and unwelcome at public sporting events is not acceptable. By working together, we aim to improve the recognition and respect of the right of any individual to be involved in rugby without discrimination whether that be on the pitch, in the changing room or in the stands.”

Matthew Webb, of International Gay Rugby and ex-Chair of the Steelers says:

“The introduction of the LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend this year from Premiership Rugby will be instrumental in our mission to stamp out discrimination in rugby and indeed other sports too. It is so important to see representation on the playing field and we are hopeful it will help encourage more people to be true to themselves whilst playing or watching sport. We believe partnerships like this will go a long way to inspire other sports competitions and governing bodies to follow the lead of Premiership Rugby and affirm sport is for all.”

The LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend is an evolution of Premiership Rugby’s long-term support of Stonewall’s annual Rainbow Laces campaign, which encourages everyone to wear the laces as a show of support for LGBTQ+ inclusion. The LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend has been developed with the support of a newly formed LGBTQ+ advisory group which is chaired by James Swanson and Matthew Webb. The group further consists of volunteer representatives from across rugby including a commentator, referee, player and diversity & inclusion specialist.

During the LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend, activities will happen both on and off the pitch to encourage the club community of players, officials, volunteers, and fans to come together in support. All players will be sent Rainbow Laces and invited to wear them during matches over the weekend and Gallagher employees from across the UK will hand out Rainbow Laces to supporters at all matches. Match official shirts will carry a bespoke “rainbow” inspired version of the Gallagher Premiership logo, assistant referees will use LGBTQ+ rainbow flags and the post pads will also adorn the rainbow branding. Finally, the partnership with Gilbert continues and special rainbow balls can be purchased here. The LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend matches will also see match branding and pitch side LEDs creatively redesigned to include rainbow colours, as well as club specific educational LGBTQ+ content featured on social media.

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