Rainbow Owls are at the forefront of Sheffield Wednesday’s matchday events this weekend as they prepare to highlight the LGBTQ+ community in football through the Rainbow Laces campaign.

Chris Ledger, founder of Rainbow Owls, described how showing support through the Rainbow Laces initiative is as crucial now as it has ever been.

Mr Ledger said: “Our activities for Saturday’s designated Rainbow Laces game against Blackburn Rovers mean that the LGBTQ+ community will engage with the club in a broad manner, including key Rainbow Owls members holding our banner with first-team players.

“Rainbow Laces also helps to develop and strengthen allyship.”

The Rainbow Laces campaign is entering its 10th year and is designed to show support for the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in sport.

Rainbow Owls’ engagement with the club will include joint youth engagement work with the Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme who will be delivering an LGBTQ+ awareness presentation to primary school children. The group will also be holding an informal social at the fan zone.

Awareness and visibility is a vital aspect of Rainbow Owls’ involvement with the Owls since it was formed in June 2023. However there is still some way to go before the LGBTQ+ community feel welcome in sport.

Recent research by Stonewall, who run the Rainbow Laces campaign, reported that only 36% of people who responded to them felt that sport was inclusive of LGBTQ+ people.

Mr Ledger was vocal about what he wants to come out of campaigns such as Rainbow Laces.

He said: “The hope is that existing allies will continue their support of us and encourage newer allies to have more conservations about issues in LGBTQ+ football.”