Scottish football fans are cautiously welcoming the announcement yesterday that more SPFL football clubs in Scotland have signed up to the LGBT Sports Charter.

Equality Network announced this week an additional 16 clubs had signed up, including the entire Premiership and the SPFL corporate body.

Today, LGBT fan groups Proud Dees, representing LGBT fans of Dundee FC, and Proud Jags, representing LGBT fans of Partick Thistle, commented on the move to tackle homophobia and inclusion in the game.

Pic: Evening TelegraphA spokesperson for Proud Dees told us:

“We welcome the news that our club, Dundee FC, have signed up to the Equality Network’s LGBT Sports Charter, as well as all the other clubs signing up today. It is great to see the majority of SPFL clubs have now signed the Charter. This is a step in the right direction for not only LGBT groups campaigning for an end to discrimination in our game, but also for clubs as they have shown themselves to be taking the issue of equality seriously. We hope to see their continued support given by clubs to fan groups like ours and look forward to welcoming even more LGBT fan groups set up by other clubs.”

The LGBT Sports Charter has 5 key principles at its heart –

  1. Take steps to actively involve LGBT people in sports and visible support LGBT inclusion and equality
  2. Challenge homophobic and transphobic behaviour and ensure a positive and welcoming sporting environment for LGBT participants
  3. Develop policies and practices that are inclusive, informed by a better understanding of the issues and barriers for LGBT people and by taking advantage of training
  4. Work to further include trans people in sport by understanding the different needs for trans participants and begin to reduce the barriers which prevent trans people from taking part in sport in their acquired gender
  5. Strive to make continuous improvements to greater include LGBT people in Scottish sport

Scotland has an increasing presence of LGBT fan groups linked to Premiership clubs and LGBT-inclusive football teams, including Saltire Thistle in Glasgow and HotScots in Edinburgh.

Partick Thistle’s LGBT fan group, Proud Jags, welcomed the new Charter signatories and also offered some practical ideas for clubs to become more inclusive.

Jags group organiser, Stephen McDowall-Laing told us the support of the Managing Director and the Board at Partick Thistle have been essential in setting up their group and said:

“I’m really pleased to see more Scottish football clubs signing up to the Charter. It was developed in consultation with sports governing bodies, other sports stakeholders and LGBT people. It’s 5 main principles may seem quite daunting at first, but as LGBT+ fans at Partick Thistle, we believe it is an essential journey that needs to be taken. The campaign to tackle racism in football, through the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ campaign shows what can be done. In dealing with these issues it will hopefully lead to a more inviting and inclusive environment in football, meaning more fans through the turnstiles.”

Stephen went on to outline how anyone thinking of forming an LGBT fans group with their football club can get started.

“I would definitely start by speaking to the M.D. of your club or a member of the board. Buy-in from the top level is very important in changing attitudes in football stadia. If your club has a Supporters Liaison Officer, they can be a very useful contact and assist in the setting up of groups and also raising the visibility of LGBT+ issues on and off the pitch.”

“The Sports Charter’s five principles neatly dovetail with a very practical document produced by ‘Pride in Football’. This is very much the roadmap we are using to officially launch the Proud Jags on 2nd December at Firhill. We are using it as a working tool that can be adapted for our own requirements to enable a safe and inclusive environment.”

You can find out more about LGBT fans groups by searching on Facebook:

Proud Dees

Proud Dons

Proud Jags

Tynecastle Pride

The Pride in Football document is available here:

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