Interview with Felicity Mayo

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Rainbow Laces

‘Rainbow Laces is a great campaign – but inclusion needs to be every day, not just once a year’

In part one of Sport Liverpool’s four-part series of interviews with LGBTQ+ athletes for this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign, AU vice-president Matt Addison spoke to Felicity Mayo, the president of the women’s football club.

The Rainbow Laces campaign is run by the charity Stonewall, which was set up in 1989, and is now the largest LGBTQ+ rights charity in Europe.

For Felicity, who is a second year physics student and identifies as being queer, the Rainbow Laces campaign means a lot.

She explains: “I remember we had it in my first year and I didn’t actually know much about it, but it’s tackling issues when it comes to homophobia and discrimination in sport.

“That lies really close to me and I think it’s a fantastic idea – I love seeing all the clubs get involved. We’re an all-inclusive club and I think everyone in the club, we don’t just do it on that day, we do it all year round. We’re very accepting.”

Within the University, Felicity says she has had no issues with discrimination – and Sport Liverpool has played a crucial part in making that the case.

She says: “I've never heard of any problems with homophobia especially, which I think is brilliant. I'm not sure whether I've just been lucky, but it seems that 100 per cent of the people I meet have been incredible and extremely kind.

“I think at Sport Liverpool, we make sure everyone’s included and we do a great job. If people can realise what sport does for people, it’s a positive impact that sport has on confidence. I think that's probably more important for people.”

The wider sporting world, outside of university, too, she says, can help teach people about inclusion, and must play an important role.

Felicity adds: “We definitely have moments where we are very inclusive in sport and tackling other issues like racism. It is highlighted but it always seems like we are always falling back into the same routine.

“It just seems that there’s a lot of campaigning but at the end of the day, it’s down to the education of people and people with stubborn views. We’re not far but we’re not close [to equality] – we’re in a limbo at the moment.

“I think it’s about changing mentalities, really reaching out to people and trying to change someone’s opinion.

“The percentage of people you meet who are gay or bi or whatever is unbelievably high, and if those people feel more confident to speak out and say it’s not a big deal, I think that will be really important.

“Keeping campaigning up is really vital to have everyone keep an open mind.”

Felicity was speaking to AU vice-president Matt Addison as part of Sport Liverpool’s Rainbow Laces campaign for 2019.