Lace Up and Speak Up in bold white text in front of a green grass background with the rainbow laces logo in the bottom left.

Rainbow Laces, a Stonewall campaign revolved around raising awareness of the barriers people still face in the world of sport and physical activity. Sam and Jacob of the #FindTheNext Goalball Academy #LacedUp & #SpokeUp on how we can take steps to #MakeSportEveryonesGame!

So Sam & Jacob, how can we make sport and fitness more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people?

Sam – By including the pride logo to websites Facebook e.g., make a clear and visible statement that goalball welcomes everyone.

Jacob – Try to break sporting stereotypes and move away from gender specific sports or teams. Allow anyone to play in any team and let anyone play anything they want to. This is so that no matter how you identify there is a place for you at any level as if there are mixed gender team limiting factors such as strength will not be an issue, and it will come down to technique.

Do you think people perform better when they can be themselves?

Sam – They can be themselves and have no fear of judgment within sport. Goalball doesn’t judge people for who they are this is shown through its natural inclusivity. People who are blind or partially sighted or full sighted can play, feel welcome and reach their full potential.

Jacob – I feel that if you are yourself and aren’t trying to be someone or something you aren’t, then you can relax and focus on the game at hand. I know personally that if you experience prejudice towards any aspect of your life in sport, that it can be hard to play to your full potential and that when you and your team accept who and what you are, then it’ll be much easier to succeed. That’s why I love goalball so much as we are all united by the sport and by our eyesight, it doesn’t matter who we are or how we identify as long as we are passionate about the game and wanting to do well and succeed.

What do you both think we can do to support LGBTQ+ people to not give up on their sporting dreams?

Sam – By letting them know that you are perfect the way you are, and you can be the role model for LGBTQ+ and to be their authentic self.

Jacob – Support them through any transitions or changes they are experiencing and help them adapt to the game or make any changes, make them feel welcome and accepted. Allow them to express themselves in whichever way they feel and allow them to be who they are. Try not to put them into a category they don’t fit into. Help show them that they can do whatever they want and keep them supported and happy with the decisions they make and how they want to live their lives. 

Would you both challenge someone saying hateful towards LGBTQ+ people?

Sam – Absolutely I would stand up and speak for anybody being faced with discrimination.

Jacob –Absolutely, I know how it feels to be insulted due to being different and I feel that I should stick up for anyone no matter who they are if they are being prejudiced .

What does Rainbow Laces mean to you?

Sam – Being able to wear something that symbolises feeling free and to be yours.

Jacob – A sign that we all stand together against prejudice for any reason, including your personal gender choices and who you want to be.

Thank you Sam and Jacob and everyone in the #FindTheNext Goalball Academy for #LacingUp & #SpeakingUp to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community!

Rainbow Laces writing in bold colourful text on the left and writing lace up and speak up on the right.