Shrewsbury Town Football Club has been accused of ramming a pro-LGBT movement ‘down everyone's throats’ after it showed support for this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign, an initiative co-run by the Premier League and LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall.
Shrewsbury evidenced its support for the campaign by changing its social media profile picture to a rainbow-inspired version of the club logo.
But some comments posted on Town’s social media accused the club of ‘defacing’ the badge. One comment read: "This constant promotion of LGBT people is purely attention seeking PC rubbish. No one cares what anyone else does in their private life."
Responding to the backlash, Andy Garden, the co-founder of the club’s LGBT+ fan group, Proud Salopians, said: "It's very disappointing to read the amount of negative comments here, but also uplifting to see many fellow fans and supporters 'on-board' and see that overall the response is a positive one, with strong opinions on either side.
"We are not here to desecrate or deface anything, the identity and history of our club is absolutely 100 per cent respected and protected - but ultimately we are all living in the 21st century, and across the sleepy backwaters and far flung corners of Shropshire there are hundreds of people, young and old, who identify somewhere on the LGBT spectrum - some are football fans like you and I, alas in some cases - because of the hatred and vitriolic comments across social media like the ones on this post - some are not.
"We're not here to 'force feed political correctness' or to 'wave sexuality in people's faces' but we are simply here to represent an under-represented part of the footballing community, not just locally but nationally, and frankly we're not going anywhere.
"Those who say 'but other groups from society aren't represented like 'the gays' are' - we welcome all and any other minority or under-represented social, ethnic, or cultural groups to get involved with Town via the STFC Supporters Parliament as we did. We're more than happy to help reach out to people and get links established and more communities involved in all things Blue and Amber.
"We're ultimately extremely proud to join Shrewsbury Town in supporting the annual Rainbow Laces campaign to tackle homophobia and show the world and the rest of football that we are a club where everyone is welcome - and we remain forever grateful for the ongoing support the club show and give us every single day.”
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