LGBT fan groups will be meeting up in Manchester next month for Pride in Football’s #CallitOut Symposium at the National Football Museum.
Pride In Football is the national umbrella organisation for LGBT fan groups across the country and its membership continues to grow – something which will be celebrated at the #CallitOut event, organisers say.
“Three years ago when we started there were only four LGBT fan groups – now there are almost 30,” said Di Cunningham from Proud Canaries and Pride In Football.
The Proud Canaries were one of the original four founder members of Pride In Football along with Gay Gooners, Canal Street Blues and Proud Lilywhites.
“The visibility of LGBT fans has increased a lot in that time,” Di says. “Every weekend on Match of the Day you’ll see the Proud Lilywhites banner in the stand at White Hart Lane and the Gay Gooners flag at Arsenal.
“It’s really important that LGBT supporters see there are others out there and that they’re welcome in our football grounds.”
#CallitOut will celebrate the rise of the LGBT supporter movement in recent years and will have contributions from fan groups, club staff, academics and police.
Brentford, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Bradford City and Chelsea are just some of the clubs whose fans have created LGBT fan groups in the last year.
Sessions will be running throughout the last weekend in June looking at a wide range of topics affecting LGBT supporters and much more.
“There is better reporting, stewarding and training in place now,” Di said. “So things are improving slowly but we’d like to see more done at lower league and non-league level.
“But it isn’t just about making football more welcoming for LGBT fans, we want to improve football for everyone.”
The event will look at ways fans can establish LGBT supporter presence, share best practice between clubs and educate LGBT fans and non-LGBT on how to best challenge discriminatory language on the terraces.
“It’s also about LGBT supporters being part of the wider picture,” Di said. “For example with Proud Canaries there’s a really nice confluence with different fan groups at Carrow Road.
“We saw that when John Hurt passed. The club didn’t have time to organise a proper minute’s silence so we tweeted that we wanted to do something.
“News got round and the Barclay End Projekt guys were singing ‘There’s only one John Hurt’ and ‘He’s one of our own’ on 77 minutes.
“It was great to see a Norwich City fan who was a pioneer of LGBT visibility being honoured by all supporters.”
Prior to the main event on Saturday 24th June, supporters will have the chance to network on Friday with workshops and other sessions running through to Sunday 25th.
The #CallitOut symposium will take place Saturday 24th June from 10am to 3pm at the National Football Museum, Todd Street, Manchester.