Reading City Football Club will support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign at tomorrow night's match against Ashford Town (Middlesex) F.C.
Reading has a fantastic familiarity to people from all different backgrounds. No one is a stranger, and everyone is there for each other, whenever they are needed, something that was witnessed by all of us following the tragic events in Forbury Gardens earlier this year.
Communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome and therefore as a club, we continue to be committed to ensuring our club is a safe and welcoming place for LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, their friends and families, promoting an inclusive sporting community. The Rainbow Laces campaign sends a strong message of zero tolerance to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour, whether on the pitch, in the stands or on social media.
The Rainbow Laces campaign continues to change attitudes. Last year, polling from Stonewall found that the vast majority of British people (65 per cent) think it is important that anti-LGBT+ language and abuse is challenged in live sporting events. The positive polling response represents an increase of seven per cent on the same question asked 12 months previously.
Our Media & Communications Manager and Rainbow Laces Ambassador Ryan Sheehan had this to say:
"As a member of the LGBT+ Community myself, it's great to see Reading City Football Club committed to delivering a football club that's enjoyable for all. We have a real family ethos here at Reading City Football Club which allowed me to feel comfortable enough to tell those I work with that I was gay without any fear of reprisal. However i'm mindful that football has a long way to go before it's a safe space for everyone and as a club we will tackle all forms of discrimination.
I want to welcome members of the LGBT+ community from across Reading and Berkshire to our club. Reading City Football Club proudly stands with the LGBT+ Community.
Football is everyone's game".