GAA teams wear Rainbow Laces in support of LGBTQ+ community

Players and officials showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community with the Rainbow Laces campaign during the all Ireland semi-final match between Mayo and Tipperary.

black shoes with rainbow laces lgbtq+

In support of Stonewall’s campaign for the LGBTQ+ community inclusion and acceptance in sports, players and officials from Mayo and Tipperary wore rainbow laces during the all Ireland semi-final match. This season is the first season that Stonewall’s campaign has been supported during GAA matches.

During the semi-final match, players representing both Mayo and Tipperary, as well as umpires and linesmen showed their backing for the LGBTQ+ inclusion initiative by wearing the multicoloured laces on their boots at Croke Park.

Prior to a game in 2015, Sunday’s semi-final referee David Gough–who is his sport’s first openly gay top-level match official–was told at the last minute that he was not allowed to wear a rainbow coloured wristband by the GAA.

After the game this past Sunday, Gough, proudly wore a rainbow wristband at Croke Park, tweeting: “A huge thanks to @SkySportsGAA for bringing this initiative across to Ireland for today’s game.”

Gough continued, “The GAA is a place #WhereWeBelong – irrespective of sexuality or gender identity. Thanks to my officials @officialgaa @SkySportsGAA @MayoGAA@TipperaryGAA @stonewalluk and @SportingPrideIE for their help in making today happen. #RainbowLaces.”

Rainbow Laces is a campaign associated with Stonewall that encourages LGBTQ+ acceptance and inclusion in sports. Coaches, teachers and leaders are equipped with resources and programmes developed by Stonewall which promote positive attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s not just the laces that turn rainbow, players and officials also have badges and team captains have rainbow armbands.

This campaign comes as a recent study in New Zealand found that nearly half of young gay men who play sports are the target of bullying, assaults, and slurs.

The study’s lead author Erik Denison said the results were “alarming”, showing not much had changed in team sports.

“Sports seems to be stuck in the 80s where nothing is changing in terms of the homophobic banter that’s going on. I don’t think that’s surprising because nothing has been done to change this behaviour,” he said.

“Behaviour doesn’t change on its own particularly when we know this behaviour’s being driven by culture and norms in sport not homophobic attitudes.” Denison stated, “Just telling people to be diverse and inclusive isn’t going to change this behaviour you need to go in there and use science-based approaches to change the culture and change the norms and the ultimate outcome is creating a better culture for everyone.”

Besides a win for inclusion in sports, Mayo is through to the final after crushing Tipperary 5-20 to 3-13 and are looking to end a 69-year wait for All-Ireland glory. Hopefully, we can look forward to more rainbow gear in the final match.

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