Gay Gooners is Arsenal Football Club’s supporters group for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) fans.
Established in February 2013, they are the first and largest LGBTQ fans group for a major football club in England, with hundreds of members in the UK and overseas.
Gay Gooners exists to provide a social group for LGBTQ Arsenal fans and their friends to meet up , provide a safe and welcoming space, and campaign to kick homophobia out of football.
Gay Gooners holds meet-ups near Emirates Stadium before home fixtures, gatherings to watch big away games and organises regular social events. It also represents the club on the annual London Pride parade every summer.
The group’s banner is displayed inside Emirates Stadium after being unveiled on the pitch by club legend Pat Rice MBE.
Gay Gooners is further evidence of Arsenal Football Club’s ongoing commitment to the Arsenal for Everyone initiative. The group is proud of the club’s leading role in the Rainbow Laces campaign including the 2014 Changing Room TV advert featuring Arsenal players promoting an inclusive message through the club’s betting partner, Paddy Power.
Gay Gooners’ patron and lifelong Arsenal supporter, comedian Matt Lucas says he is “immensely proud of and grateful to the club” for its Arsenal for Everyone initiative and how “young gay fans now feel included by the club in a way my generation never could”.
Gay Gooners work with the club to tackle homophobia and most recently worked with Arsenal fans ahead of the Brighton & Hove Albion fixture in January 2015 which has seen incidents of homophobic chants from away supporters.
Members of the group also took part in the club’s annual Arsenal for Everyone tournament in June 2015 at the club’s training centre.
Members receive regular newsletters about forthcoming events and LGBT football news. To find out more, visit www.gaygooners.com or view their Facebook page www.facebook.com/ArsenalsLGBTfans or follow on Twitter via @gaygoonersCopyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source