Rainbow Laces: Richards, Doran, Guyatt and Everett promote LGBTQ+ inclusion at Croydon school
Ahead of the Premier League and Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which will be celebrated at matches this week, Palace players Chris Richards, Polly Doran, Shauna Guyatt and Aimee Everett joined Croydon school pupils at a workshop about LGBTQ+ inclusion, acceptance, role models and active allyship to the LGBTQ+ community.
Clubs across the country are highlighting and celebrating the changes they have made within their communities to show their support for LGBTQ+ inclusion as part of the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign taking place this week.
In south London, we invited Men’s player Chris Richards and Women’s players Polly Doran, Shauna Guyatt and Aimee Everett to a primary school in Croydon to participate in the first of a series of LGBTQ+-based workshops to be delivered across south London. The workshops aim to educate young south Londoners about respecting other people’s differences, the importance of LGBTQ+ allyship and, how together, we can build stronger communities free from homophobic, transphobic and biphobic language.
The workshop began with a presentation from our coaches, showing examples of sportspeople within the LGBTQ+ community, and the type of discrimination they have faced or could face.
Palace defender Chris Richards said:
“We spoke to the kids about the LGBTQ+ community and having respect for everybody. The Foundation are the pioneers for working with young people. We want to help with the future, so we need to start showing that it’s acceptable to be whoever you want to be and, it starts with young people, and it starts with us.”
After the presentation, the pupils and players took part in a range of exercises all about respecting other people’s differences, LGBTQ+ role models in sport, and how to demonstrate active allyship to the LGBTQ+ community throughout their school years and into adulthood.
In true school visit style, the session closed with an entertaining Q&A where the children asked the players questions about their lives as professional footballers. Still, the real highlight was when the students managed to persuade life-long Palace fan Shauna Guyatt sing her fan song – ‘Shauna Guyatt…she’s one of our own! in front of the entire class.
Palace Women captain Aimee Everett also said:
“We’ve been down at school today to talk about the LGBTQ+ community and answer any questions they had about it. It’s been a good day all round. I think Rainbow Laces is really important, because when I was younger I didn’t have anything like this, so to see it in schools, it’s really nice to see the education going into it.”
The work doesn’t stop at Rainbow Laces weekend, there is still more to be done as we continue to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion across the game. With us at Palace for Life, it all starts with education, and we will continue to deliver workshops around LGBTQ+ acceptance, empowerment and allyship all year round and beyond.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Rainbow Laces, with the theme of ‘Let’s Lace Up to Keep It Up’. This looks at how sport has become more inclusive over the last decade, while also highlighting the need for ongoing work to ensure sport is a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
For more information on our work in Primary Schools, head here.