Spurs fans fly the flag for equality
Football fans across the world have spotted the Proud Lilywhites’ flag waving at Tottenham Hotspur matches. Set up three years ago, they were one of the first LGBT+ football supporters’ groups in the UK and now they are leading the way for others.
Chris Paouros is co-chair of the Proud Lilywhites, and one of the founding members. She says:
“I’ve been going to football for years and White Hart Lane has been like my house. The Proud Lilywhites are part of the Spurs family – part of the Tottenham family.
“When we started there were four LGBT football supporters’ groups – now there are 40, all under the umbrella of 'Pride in Football'. We’ve built an alliance, a community, where there’s space to talk about things and share good practice.
“It’s important for LGBT+ fans to have other LGBT+ fans to go to games with if they want to. There are a lot of people who thought football wasn’t for them, but they’ve come back to it because groups like the Proud Lilywhites exist.
“Sometimes it’s just about visibility, we had our flag up at White Hart Lane. It says that whoever you are – a fan, member of staff, a player – you’re welcome here. People from all over the world have contacted us saying it’s great to see our flag.”
The Proud Lilywhites also work with other campaigns promoting inclusion and diversity in the game and Chris says football can be “a catalyst for social and cultural transformation”.
“It’s important to work with other campaigns. Homophobia doesn’t travel alone – it’s often accompanied by racism, sexism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. It’s important to reach wider, it’s about education and campaigning, you have to believe change is possible. There is something changing, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of that.”
The Proud Lilywhites have hundreds of signed-up members and almost 5,000 Twitter followers. If you’d like to join them, get in touch via the Proud Lilywhites website (external link). You can also follow them on Twitter @SpursLGBT (external link) and on Facebook (external link).
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