Everton has underlined its commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for trans and non-binary supporters ahead of International Trans Day of Visibility on Wednesday 31 March.
Trans Day of Visibility is dedicated to raising awareness of discrimination faced by the trans community.
Everton Equality and Human Rights Advisor, Sophie Cowell, declared the Club’s support for the initiative and the Football v Transphobia week of action, which culminates on Wednesday.
Everton last year became one of the first football clubs to sign up as a Stonewall Diversity Champion – aligning with Europe’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality.
Cowell provided an insight into how that link-up has further enhanced the Club’s inclusivity programmes – and explained why she believes education holds the key to eradicating prejudice and bigotry in football.
“By supporting Football v Transphobia week and the Trans Day of Visibility, we want to show that all our trans and non-binary supporters are truly valued by Everton,” she said.
“Everyone is welcome in our Everton family.
“We want everyone to know we support the LGBT+ community and we’re doing what we can to make sure we, as a club, are open and welcoming.
“There is still a lot of work to be done to tackle transphobia and homophobia. It is never helpful to speculate on someone’s gender identity or sexuality that can be really harmful for people.
“Continuing to educate people in football and across society is vital, so we can stop this discrimination.”
Cowell outlined how Everton becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion has helped shape everyday processes within the Club.
“Stonewall is able to offer us regular advice and guidance,” she explains.
“As part of the Champions programme, we have reviewed all of our HR policies to make sure they are as inclusive as possible.
“We also have a really active LGBT+ network for staff. Being part of the Champions programme helps us to support the network and their initiatives.
“For example, February was LGBT+ history month and as part of a programme of activity for staff we shared resources and had guest speakers.
“We also had an event at the end of the month to celebrate LGBT+ history.”
She added: “Showing our support to the LGBT+ community is really important for us.
“For a number of years, we’ve had our Rainbow Toffees LGBT+ supporters’ group and the Club takes part in the Pride celebration in Liverpool every year.”
Everton’s array of diversity initiatives form part of the Blues’ All Together Now campaign, which celebrates inclusivity across the Club.
The campaign was launched by Everton in 2018 – with the tagline ‘a football family for everyone’ – and Cowell explained how she has been greatly encouraged by the positive impact it has made.
Click here for more about All Together Now.
“Evertonians have a lot of pride in the Club being open and welcoming for people of all backgrounds,” she said.
“When we have events like the Rainbow Laces dedicated fixture – which pays tribute to all LGBT+ people in football – a lot of fans send messages of support.
“It means a lot. It shows what type of club we are and the great fanbase we’ve got.
“Evertonians are proud that we are the People’s Club and have really taken to the All Together Now campaign.”