February was LGBT history month, and Fans for Diversity were involved in a number of initiatives over the past few weeks, from the big to the small, showcasing the range of events and causes that we are able to support through the campaign.
Fans for Diversity was key to bringing together the Professional Football Association (PFA) and supporters groups to discuss issues relating to LGBT fans in the game. It's the first time that the PFA have engaged with supporters on the issues in this way, and the dialogue between the players' union and fan groups is a big step forward in improving things both off and on the pitch.
Speaking of on the pitch, Proud Cherries, the LGBT+ supporters group at Bournemouth, were central to the Premier League club's Football v Homophobia day thanks to support from the Fans for Diversity campaign, forming a guard of honour with rainbow flags as the players came out ahead of the club's 2-2 draw Newcastle United on 26th February.
We also held the official launch of our annual review at Parliament, with Chris Paouros of the Proud Lilywhites (Spurs LGBT group) appearing on the panel addressing MPs and government officials.
It hasn't all been about highlighting LGBT issues of late, though. Fans for Diversity brought together two sides in Wrexham who champion the cause of diversity in different ways. Wrexham Inclusion FC started as a team to offer people with either physical or mental disabilities a chance to play football. They have now grown to include those who've fallen foul of the criminal justice system, substance abuse and homelessness. They took on Bellvue FC - the Wrexham league's first registered multi-ethnic specific team, who have worked wonders in bringing different ethnicities together through the power of football.
The day consisted of the friendly match, before both clubs had a pre-match meal, with both teams attending Wrexham AFC against Aldershot Town at the Racecourse Ground, where both clubs were presented at half time to the crowd with a trophy presentation.
As for upcoming events, we are holding panel discussions at a range of EFL and Premier League clubs over the coming months, following on from our successful event at Brighton back in October. Thursday 8th March sees Port Vale fans coming together to discuss diversity issues mixed in with a fair bit of football chat with current first team boss Neil Aspin and football director John Rudge, while on 22nd March we're on the road to Crystal Palace and on 19th April we'll be at Bristol Rovers.
These events typically feature ex-pros and current players, as well as people from the football industry, and are an interesting way to get involved more with the diversity issues at your club. Our event at Brighton included ex-England women's boss Hope Powell and Liam Rosenior, while at Palace we'll be hearing from current first team player Damien Delaney, ex-pro Paul Mortimer and comedian and anti-racist campaigner Kevin Day.
If you'd like help with anything from hosting a major event to some bespoke t-shirts and banners to help support the campaign, such as those we sent out this month to Proud Baggies at West Bromich Albion or Woodford Town in the Essex Senior League, get in touch. The Fans for Diversity campaign has resources for fan groups up and down the country, regardless of your level - speak with Anwar Uddin via email or Twitter.