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Pride in the badge: Shea’s story

25 June 2021

June is Pride Month and AFC Wimbledon has a proud record of embracing and supporting diversity in all corners of society.

The following is a blog written by Shea Coffey, from Dons 4 Diversity, to remind people why Pride is important.

Last winter, a fellow Don said to me: ‘I know you do a lot of campaigning on LGBT issues, there is someone you need to meet’.

A few days later I was chatting to Anne-Marie Godfrey, who has been instrumental in helping the Dons Trust Diversity and Inclusion group set up Dons 4 Diversity. I interviewed her for a community radio show, and before I knew it, I was signed up for Dons 4 Diversity.

From it’s very inception, AFC Wimbledon has been revolutionary, progressive, reforming, and ground-breaking. I have never known any other team have the pride that Wimbledon fans show.. The club is now home, but with many of its outreach programmes it has been at the heart of the local community for more than a decade.

While we will always be a football club first and foremost, as Marcus Rashford has shown, football can provide an amazing platform to help, educate and create real change and, along with a tiny handful of other league clubs, we are leading the way.

Dons for Diversity is more than just rainbow laces, it is a chance for fans, their friends and possibly folks who would like to feel welcome, to come to a football match, attend a social gathering, and enjoy the community feel that is unique to our club.

Having a space in which you can just be, allows you to feel a sense of being, and that fosters a sense of pride. That should be almost at any club, almost any match, almost any festival, almost any parade… you start to get the idea.

With how things are for the LGBT community at moment, I’m going to suggest we need pride month and the support of groups like Dons 4 Diversity now more than at any time in the last quarter of a century.

Dons 4 Diversity will be visible at matches through the coming season, so why not pop over and say ‘Hi’ because it’s not just the LGBT+ community that has been disrespected, marginalised, treated differently based on an inherent characteristic. There are many people who find themselves feeling like that, and Wimbledon is a welcoming place where you are automatically considered an ally……. just like pride.

If you are interested in learning more or joining Dons 4 Diversity, contact jane Lonsdale, Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion working group. E-mail jane.lonsdale@thedonstrust.org .

You can also follow @Dons4Diversity on Twitter.

We published an article on Shea a few months back, and if you missed it you can read it on our official website.


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