In a first for Scotland, professional football clubs in all four of the SPFL divisions have teamed up to better include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people by signing up to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter.
It’s the first time in Scotland that so many clubs have made a commitment to better include LGBT+ people in the beautiful game and it includes the biggest clubs in Scottish Football.
The Charter includes a set of five principles which aim to remove the barriers to sport for LGBT+ people. Over thirty governing bodies of sport have already signed up, including the Scottish Football Association.
Signing up to the charter today are Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Partick Thistle, Rangers, St Johnstone, Dumbarton, Airdirionans, Albion Rovers, Forfar Athletic, Elgin City and Peterhead.
Scott Cuthbertson, Development Manager of the Equality Network, said: “We’re delighted that these clubs, from across all four SPFL divisions, are today making a commitment to LGBT+ supporters, officials and the next generation of LGBT+ players.
“Today’s message is loud and clear, everyone is welcome at football and we are working for a more inclusive game.
“We don’t yet have any openly LGBT+ professional players in the men’s professional game in Scotland but we know there are plenty of LGBT+ fans. Thank you to those clubs who have already taken this step. For clubs who haven’t yet signed up and who want to make their club more inclusive, our door is always open.”
The charter states as its aim that “Scotland will be a country where everyone can take part, enjoy, and succeed in sport at all levels whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity”, it was developed in consultation with sports governing bodies (SGBs), other sports stakeholders and LGBT+ people.
Rangers striker Kenny Miller commented: “Rangers is an inclusive club and strives to promote equality and inclusion and we are delighted to sign up to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter.
“Everyone should be able to take part, enjoy and succeed in sport whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity and we are proud to support this initiative.”
The Equality Network say this is the first step in coordinated efforts that they hope will encourage more LGBT+ people to get involved in football.
A study by the Equality Network launched in 2012 showed that 57% of LGBT+ people would be more likely to participate in sport if it was more LGBT+ friendly, and that football was the sport identified as having the biggest challenges to overcome in relation to LGBT+ inclusivity.