Rainbow Laces 2023: All you need to know
• 2 MINUTE READ
From the 25 November to 11 December, Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign will be returning for its 10th year, encouraging people participating in sport across the country to lace up with rainbow laces to show their support and allyship for LGBTQ+ communities.
Why is Rainbow Laces important?
Research published by Stonewall last October found that only four in 10 sport fans think competitive sport is welcoming for gay and bisexual men (40%) or lesbian and bisexual women (43%). Meanwhile earlier this year, research found that 34% of 1,000 surveyed members of LGBTQ+ communities had experienced homophobic or transphobic abuse while attending live sport.
While progress has been made, there is still work to be done and the highest levels of sport and at the grass roots to ensure that those from LGBTQ+ communities feel welcome in sport, whether taking part or watching.
What can you do?
We’d love as many people as possible from the tennis and padel communities to get involved and show their support and allyship. So if you’re planning on taking to the court over the next two weeks, whether it’s at your local park, your tennis club, or anywhere else you’re picking up a racket, do take some pictures of you with your laces on show, and post them on social media, tagging the LTA, Stonewall, and Pride in Tennis - the LGBTQ+ network for tennis in Britain.
What is the LTA doing?
As the national governing body for tennis in Britain, we are responsible for ensuring that tennis and padel is a safe and inclusive space, where everyone can pick up a racket and feel welcomed and accepted, no matter their sexuality or gender identity.
Throughout the summer grass court season in 2022 and again in 2023, we hosted Friday Pride Days at our major events as part of Pride Month, and through the LTA Tennis Foundation, we have been supporting the Rally Allies programme, led by the Pride in Tennis network. This programme, consisting of a webinar for representatives of clubs and venues to attend, gives clubs and venues the tools both to replicate the Friday Pride Days seen at our grass court events as a showcase of their inclusion efforts, and to create in the longer term a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people at their venue.
At the recent Billie Jean King Cup Playoffs between Great Britain and Sweden at the Copper Box, Leigh Armstrong from the London-based LGBTQ+ tennis club Ace Players Tennis Croydon stepped on court to do the coin toss for Katie Boulter's match against Kajsa Rinaldo Persson. We spoke to Leigh earlier this year about his experiences at Britain longest running LGBTQ+ tennis group, and the importance of allyship in tennis, which you can find out more about by following the link below.