Rainbow Devils looking forward to fifth anniversary

Tuesday 05 December 2023 11:30

Manchester United’s official LGBTQ+ supporters’ club, Rainbow Devils, is now in a significant period as it prepares to celebrate its five-year anniversary in February 2024.

This Tuesday night, the group will be in partnership with co-hosts United and adidas as #OneLoveLive, a special event delving into allyship, equality and inclusivity, is held at Old Trafford. Attendance is by invitation only but coverage of the evening will be available in due course across club media.

Five special guests - Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton, The Athletic journalist Adam Crafton, swimming champion Mark Foster and United Women winger Leah Galton - will participate in a panel discussion chaired by Sky Sports News presenter Hayley McQueen, daughter of the late, great Reds defender Gordon McQueen.
United Women star Leah Galton will be speaking at the #OneLoveLive event.

The event ties in with United's support for Rainbow Laces, the Stonewall campaign now in its 10th year. With Rainbow Devils playing a key role on the night, and being the subject of an upcoming episode in our One Love fan-focused film series, it feels like an appropriate time to take stock of the progress already made, and the many further things that can still be done to make football and United a welcoming place for all.

“The #OneLoveLive event shows the club are being proactive on this issue but doing it in a way that educates others on how to be a good ally,” says Lindsey Parr, vice-chair of Rainbow Devils.

“Wednesday's Rainbow Laces match against Chelsea and the event on Tuesday night, as we prepare for our five-year anniversary in February, give us opportunities to celebrate our group and allow us to come together to tackle issues like homophobia in football.

“In the last couple of years we’ve grown from strength to strength. Seeing us continue to grow and work with the club, to create that safe space and that equality within football, is so powerful. United, certainly, has that power to break down those prejudices.”

The membership of Rainbow Devils includes United fans from all over the world, but social platforms continue to play an important, inviting role in bringing fans forward. 

“People have been posting their football stories on the Facebook group, which is really nice,” says Parr.

“A lot of them are saying that, actually, they’ve been quite shy to come to games or to come to socials. So that online bit has given them that first step to come and meet us. It’s been a journey for a lot of people being part of the LGBTQ+ community and being a football fan.”
Rainbow Devils vice-chair Lindsey Parr proudly flies our LGBTQ+ supporters' club's flag at Old Trafford.
Perhaps the most visible sign of Rainbow Devils’ rise is the banner that was installed on the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in November 2021. It might seem a simple gesture, but Lindsey believes it was hugely significant.

“I don’t think people understand the power of that banner,” she explains.

“That’s what got me signing up to Rainbow Devils – I didn’t even know the group existed. There was a time where, even as a woman in football, it didn’t feel the most comforting space. But that pride of seeing the Rainbow Devils banner and knowing the club are making steps in trying to make sure this is a game for everyone... I think that’s such an important thing.”
Rainbow Devils were well represented at Manchester Pride this year.
There are plenty of challenges still ahead, of course, but it seems clear things are moving in the right direction.

“For me, we’re the biggest club in the world and all eyes are on you,” says Parr.

“There’s always more that can be done but I must admit, I can’t complain with what the club [are doing] – certainly around the homophobic chanting at the last Chelsea game, and also how they’ve supported Pride, where Rainbow Devils have recently been represented.

“The ‘One Love’ stuff [the club’s campaign of support for the LGBTQ+ community] has been really, really positive as well.”

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