Last month fans from clubs and nations across Europe gathered at the London Stadium, home of West Ham United and Pride of Irons for Pride in Football’s third annual symposium, Call It Out.
Around 100 fans, representing clubs the length of the U.K. and nations including Ireland and Belgium came together to collaborate around the issues we face as LGBT+ football fans, as well as to challenge negative attitudes and raise awareness of equality and inclusion within the game we all love. The keynote event of the weekend was a panel session where attendees were joined by West Ham United’s Alisha Lehmann, Olympic boxing medalist and ally Anthony Ogogo, out gay wrestler Brad Slayer, actor Charlie Condou & Guardian journalist Nicky Bandini.
Pride of Irons co-chair Jim Dolan said: “Our relationship has been recognised as one of the best between an LGBT+ fan group and a club in football, which is why Pride in Football (PiF) asked West Ham to host Call it Out 19.
“The high-profile support given to various LGBT+ campaigns like Rainbow Laces and the Pride Parade by the club; the support of both senior staff and the players, and the appointment of out-gay staff to senior positions shows the club is driving awareness across football and beyond.”
Di Cunningham, out-going Chair of Pride in Football and organiser of Proud Canaries said; “I’m a bit overwhelmed! One hundred people signed up for this; that’s LGBT fans, plus other stakeholders in football who are interested in LGBT inclusion.
“That is 100 people putting their heads together to solve some of the problems we still have. It isn’t all about celebrating how far we’ve come, we’ve still got to look at where we’ve got to go to. Events like today make me feel really, really good and hugely positive for the future.”
Steph Fuller, incoming PiF Chair and founder of Proud and Palace, said: “In a world of negative headlines it could be easy to believe that all is lost. However if you attended call it out 2019 you cannot fail to have been caught up in this movement of positivity – real football fans representing clubs from across the UK and Europe, coming together to freely share knowledge and experience, with single aim of making football a truly inclusive place for LGBTQ people.
“Pride in Football now has a membership of fifty supporters groups across the English & Scottish leagues, and we look forward to the continued growth of our membership and welcoming more groups from clubs that are unrepresented.”
You can get more information about setting up your own supporters group by viewing our toolbox or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and you can view more images from the #CallitOut19 drinks reception here.