‘Rainbow Stumps’ - an English initiative to welcome LGBT cricketers

Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByDevarchit Varma
Aug 08, 2017 04:58 PM IST

England and Wales Cricket Board is the latest sports body in England to join the LGBT movement which will be observed from Thursday to Sunday this week.

The upcoming matches in the NatWest T20 Blast as well as in the Kia Super League in England will be provided with a ‘Rainbow Stumps’ makeover on all corners of the grounds, with all players, umpires and even the commentators backing the initiative to welcome people from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community into cricket.

Rainbow colours are being used on clothes, shoes, stumps among other things to welcome the LGBT community into cricket in England.(Getty Images)
Rainbow colours are being used on clothes, shoes, stumps among other things to welcome the LGBT community into cricket in England.(Getty Images)

For the next eight matches in the two tournaments in England to be played from Thursday to Sunday, almost everyone involved will take part in the ‘Rainbow Stumps’ event — including the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) — to show support for ‘equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’, according to Sky Sports.

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Grace Cricket Club is more than 20 years old and was established to encourage the inclusion of the LGBT community into cricket,and is working along with the ‘Stonewall Campaign’.

However, the club has had to face some negativity for its activities. During a recruitment drive recently, there were ‘homophobic comments made on social media’.

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Grace’s press and publicity officer Chris Sherwood said, “This is such an important first step being taken by the ECB and Sky Sports towards culture change in cricket. As the world’s first LGBT cricket club, there is no question to us that there is still a great need for action. Just a few weeks ago, a Facebook campaign aimed at cricket fans to promote our club attracted almost exclusively homophobic responses. It’s no surprise, therefore, that we welcome this campaign, as we welcome people, with open arms.”

Over the weekend, rainbow flags will be a part of the guard of honour in every match, the stumps will be painted in those colours and the entire ground will be given a makeover in the similar tone.

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The Stonewall Campaign is about welcoming people from the LGBT community into cricket, as a research done by the organisation earlier said one in six of such people have heard remarks during live games.

While ECB is the latest to join, last year the Premier League, English Football League, the Football Association, Rugby Football Association and several other sports had joined the movement.

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