Goals Soccer centre came alive to the sound of music and footballs as participants were out in their numbers to grace the community event promoting LGBTQ+ and Inclusion.
By Amos Joseph
Amidst pomp and fanfare, participants stormed the pitch in their rainbow laces, socks, and armband as they battled for glory on Saturday 18th September 2021.
35 teams consisting of 8 players each competed in the Inclusive 5-A-side tournament including male, female, mixed-gender teams of LGBTQ+, allies, and all different mixed abilities.
“It is all about saying you can be anyone,” James Laley, the lead organiser said in an interview with The Loop.
“You can identify however you wish to be, and there is a place for you in football and sports. Anyone who identifies knows that they can play football, be a fan, referee, or whatever they might want to get involved in.”James Laley talking about LGBTQ+ in football
James further said it was great to have that number of people turn out for the event that had earlier been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic that plagued the world in 2020.
“For the first edition, it was difficult to get the message out there and getting teams to sign up to take part, he said.
“I feel proud of what we’ve achieved today. It’s just amazing and almost melts my heart for the number of people who have come together because they stand for LGBTQ+. These homophobes out there are the minority. This is what we are all about as human beings, accepting everyone for who they are,”Lead organiser James Laley
However, according to an HM Treasury study from 2005, there are 3.7 million LGBT persons in the UK, making up 5.85 percent of the population.
A 2017 Government-issued Public Health Matters article stated that “52% of young LGBT people reported self-harm either recently or in the past, compared to 25% of heterosexual non-trans young people. And 44% of young LGBT people have considered suicide, compared to 26% of heterosexual non-trans young people.”
Sporting events such as Rainbow laces 5-A-side will further help the general community recognize and reduce discrimination which may lead to negative outcomes.
The event saw Ravenous Taverners emerge winners in the Champions League category while Nunny’s Funky Boots clinched the Europa League title.
“As a lesbian myself, it means that people are getting together and supporting the cause,” Derby County Ladies striker Jodim Michalska said. “This is also taking out discrimination when you are competing against men as well. It’s been a nice day to be fair. “
Captain Ravenous Taverners Sam Coulby, “It is great to compete in the event for the principles we all agree with, and to win in a row feels more special.
“If we could get more teams in, it would be fantastic. It is about bringing people together to help raise awareness on a massive issue in our society.