A new Barnsley supporters group want to create a ‘safe space’ for LGBTQ+ fans at Oakwell and tackle homophobia at football games.
The Rainbow Reds was set up last month and were announced as a new official Barnsley supporters group during Rainbow Laces day. It follows the EFL’s recent league wide support of the Stonewall campaign.
A 2017 Stonewall survey showed that 43 percent of people within the LGBTQ+ felt sporting events were not welcoming for them.
Rei Homer, one of the Rainbow Reds organisers, said: “We aim to create a safe space for Barnsley’s LGBTQ+ supporters.
“We want to show that Barnsley is a welcoming place to come and watch the football and to be able to reach out to those who feel unincluded and help them come along to games.”
Another 2020 Stonewall study suggested that 20 percent of match-going fans felt anti-LGBTQ+ chants were harmless if used as banter. This is one of the main things the Rainbow Reds are looking to tackle.
“Our main aim is to educate people about certain words and phrases,” Rei, 18, said. “It’s about educating yourself and calling people out if they are using homophobic chants and phrases. If you see people doing this you should report them the same way you would report racist language.
“We want to show how fans can be better allies and support LGBTQ+ people.”
The group plans to run events within the Barnsley community and support LGBTQ+ charities.
Those who want to hear more about the group can find them on twitter: @RedsRainbow.