Why Are People Wearing Rainbow Shoelaces?
Have you noticed a lot of people wearing rainbow shoelaces lately? Well, it isn’t just a coincidence or because they just all suddenly liked rainbow shoelaces all at the same time. It’s a movement. It’s on purpose and it has a name.
What is the Rainbow Laces Campaign?
The Rainbow Laces Campaign was initiated by the LGBT rights charity, Stonewall. They encourage the wearing of rainbow shoelaces by athletes for a week. It all started as an attempt to battle homophobia, transphobia, and biophobia, particularly in the sports world. Sports is one arena where homophobic abuse is rampant and LGBT people often feel unwelcomed in their sports. They often feel like they have to keep that part of themselves private because they fear how others may react if they find out that they were lesbian, gay, bi, or trans. Add to this, the fact that 1 in 5 people who fall in the range of 18 to 24 years of age say they would be embarrassed if their favorite athlete came out. The goal when Stonewall began the campaign five years ago was to raise awareness and address the problem in the sports world.
How Has the Pandemic Affected the Rainbow Laces Campaign?
Organizers of the event have stated that the Coronavirus pandemic and recent protests against systemic racism around the globe has set the tone for this year’s campaign. This year has brought a lot of challenges for the LGBT+ community and sports has become an important outlet to help keep spirits up. It’s the ideal climate for the Rainbow Laces Campaign.
This Year’s Campaign
The campaign is set to kickoff in November with everyone lacing up their rainbow shoelaces. Over the last five years, over a million rainbow shoelaces have been distributed. This year, there are new LGBTQ designs set to join the traditional Pride rainbow design. Laces representing the lesbian, ace, bi, trans, pan, and non-binary communities will be available.
Around the world clubs, teams, and individual athletes are tying their rainbow laces to show support. Many are hoping this small detail will be able to make a huge difference in the world.
LGBTQ Discrimination Facts
You may be thinking that there has been a lot of progress over the last few decades when it comes to the LBGTQ community and acceptance. You would be correct, however, there is still a lot of discrimination in the world. There are a few countries that are becoming more tolerant, while others are moving toward becoming more repressive.
The good news is, that since 1990, more than 40 countries have made homophobic hate crimes illegal. 30 out of 195 countries have now passed laws that allow equal marriage. But that doesn’t mean that the fight for equality has been won. Check out these facts about the various forms of discrimination that still exist.
- There are still 72 countries that criminalize same-sex relationships.
- More than 25% of the population of the world believes that people who are in same-sex relationships are criminals and should be charged as such.
- In eight countries, the death penalty is allowed or still exists in some form for same-sex relationships.
- Over half of the world’s countries do not have laws regarding LGBT discrimination in the workplace.
- Around the globe, LGBT people are subjected to sexual and physical violence by state and non-state sectors.
- The LGBT community is still discriminated against in employment, social and health care, and in education.
- Many LGBT people are subjected to social rejection including being rejected by their families.
- Most governments do not allow trans people to change their name and gender legally. About one-fourth of the world’s population still believes that trans people should not be granted legal recognition for their gender identity.
Why We Lace Up
These facts serve as examples as to why athletes around the world will lace up with rainbow shoelaces this November. While there has been a lot of progress made, discrimination still exists. Grab a pair of rainbow shoelaces from We Are Pride, and let’s raise awareness together.