Group for LGBT supporters is formed at Bradford City
A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) supporters group has been formed at Bradford City as a pub becomes the first known to offer a ‘safe haven’.
The group, which will officially start on 1 October, is the brainchild of Just A Ball Game? (JBG?), a campaign group setup to encourage LGBT inclusion in the sport.
As part of the scheme, a Bradford pub is also set to become a safe space for LGBT supporters to drink at on matchdays.
The Bradford Brewery will offer the service initially to Bantams fans, but organisers hope away supporters will be welcomed too.
Lifelong City fan Lindsay England, 49, founder of JBG? – who was born in Queensbury, said: “Bradford City has for several years supported the local LGBT community as part of the football family and the time is now right to introduce an LGBT fan group for the club.
“It will be much more of a social group. It is the first time a bar has been credited as a safe space for matchdays too.
“Bradford City is a proactive club on LGBT issues.
“We could not contemplate doing anything like this five years ago. There are already about 22 LGBT fans’ groups across the country, it’s building up.
“Most of the fans’ groups are for clubs in the Premier League and the Championship. There is more of a presence now.”
City’s LGBT group will be formally unveiled at the Bradford Brewery. Guests at the event, held between 6.30pm and 9.30pm on 1 October, are expected to include Bradford councillors Richard Dunbar and Susan Hinchcliffe and former Sports Minister and Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe.
Bradford Brewery has created a beer, called Just a Ball Game?, which will go on sale during October.
The Brewery will also host JBG’s exhibition, ‘Time for Action’, which features posters and memorabilia from women’s football, also held during October.
Miss England, who now lives in Manchester, is meeting Bradford City officials this week to discuss getting an LGBT banner placed in the stands at Valley Parade.
The club has flown the rainbow flag, which symbolises gay pride, at its ground on matchdays from the 2013-14 season, to show its support against homophobia.
Bradford City co-chairman Mark Lawn has backed the fans’ group.
He said: “I support anything that makes anybody feel comfortable at Valley Parade.
“Any group of supporters who feel they need extra help from the club only have to get in touch with us. We are all Bradford City fans.
“I think everywhere is a safe space at Valley Parade. I can’t tell people how they feel, but I think Valley Parade is safe wherever you go.”
From Telegraph and Argus