We started the Allies List four weeks ago today, and what was originally thought would be a small corner of this website has grown and flourished beyond all expectations.
Originally intended for individuals, we are immensely proud that eight Supporters Groups representing seven MLS teams have signed on in addition to 20 current players, six alumni, 46 media entries, seven team staff, and one soccer-loving politician.
Now being an ally can mean many things to many people; so especially with groups now in addition to individual people signing on, we wanted to set forth our vision of what being an ally is, and what we’ll ask and expect of folks and groups on the list. We liked the UK Sports Charter language that every English Premier League team signed on to last week, so we borrowed that and made a few modifications and additions of our own:
- We agree that everyone should be able to participate in, watch and enjoy sports — whoever they are and whatever their background.
- We agree that sports are about fairness and equality, respect and dignity. Sports teach individuals how to strive and succeed, how to cope with success and disappointment, and bring people together to achieve a common goal.
- We are committed to making these values a reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We will work together, and individually, to rid the game of soccer of homophobia and transphobia.
- We will make soccer a welcome, inviting, and inclusive place for everyone — for those participating in the sport, those attending matches and for those working or volunteering in it — while making a deliberate effort to reach out to GLBT people. We will work with all these groups to ensure they have a voice, and to challenge unacceptable behavior, including working to eliminate homophobic language from the game.
While we’ve laid out this set of beliefs, we also believe actions speak louder than words, and individuals who take part in activities that embody the spirit of these points (like NO H8 and It Gets Better) will continue to be added to the list. But we do feel it’s very important that we work with groups to act on their agreement to being allies and will interact with them to make sure they will stand strong with us as we work to make the game better for LGBT fans, players, and all members of the soccer family.
Now that we’ve laid this out, we’ll be ramping up ally recruitment again as we work toward the big upcoming milestone of 100 members on our list!