- This is a guest post by Jim Hearson
With the best will in the world, the launch of a new Partick Thistle away kit wouldn’t usually get much attention outside the denizens of Firhill. However, the inclusion of rainbow colours to show support for LGBT+ people has certainly been noticed by folks further afield.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that a team has shown support for this community – in recent seasons, we’ve seen rainbow badges on social media, rainbow corner flags and, boots permitting, rainbow laces. Football v Homophobia t-shirts are worn while teams warm up, MLS teams have been sporting an altogether snazzier number before games this June, and Ireland and the USA wore rainbow-coloured numbers on the back when they played each other in June 2018.
There are teams who have gone even further in recent times, particularly Altrincham, who garnered plenty of support for their bold rainbow jersey in 2018-19, while Conwy Borough made a similar concession a few weeks later.
Something that the LGBT+ community is crying out for is allies – straight people who will back the cause – and these teams have shown it in spades. They’ve helped keep the topic of not just LGBT+ people, but those who play/watch/are involved in football a part of the conversation. And just looking at some of the abuse they get for it on social media from unenlightened trolls, the need for support is still very necessary.
However, all too often, these are time-limited events – during the Rainbow Laces campaign’s activation period, Football v Homophobia month in February, or during Pride month in June. While it’s great to see teams embrace the rainbow more, you do have to wonder if they would if it wasn’t a designated period.
That’s why what Partick have done is so different. Sure, when the kit was released, it was Pride month, but this is a kit that’s going to be worn for a year – that’s some commitment. It’s been done pretty subtly too – the stripe down the side could easily be mistaken for the red/yellow/black trim elsewhere on the shirt, while the rainbow flashes on the shoulders aren’t exactly gaudy.
Partick aren’t alone in committing to a season of featuring rainbow colours – Spain’s Rayo Vallecano and CD Guadalajara have in the past, while Germany’s St Pauli are famous for it, including the 2019-20 third kit – but it’s great news to see a British team backing the LGBT+ community in this way – hopefully, they won’t be the last.