The Albion Foundation were delighted to link up with Pride Sports and Proud Baggies at The Hawthorns last week, hosting an event for our Girls' ETC teams for Football v Homophobia Month of Action.
Our Girls’ Emerging Talent Centre (ETC) offers talented girls aged eight to 16 the opportunity to develop their skills for a potential future professional football playing career.
Each ETC squad took part in a homophobia in sport awareness workshop led by Pride Sports - a UK organisation working to challenge LGBT+ phobia in sport and improve access to sport for all LGBT+ people across the world.
The Football v Homophobia campaign exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football.
February marks the Football v Homophobia Month of Action, where clubs, players, fans, officials and coaches across the sport are urged to take a strong vocal stand against all forms of anti-LGBT+ discrimination.
LGBT + representation and visibility in football has never been greater - and with that comes an even greater responsibility to tackle discrimination.
Representatives from Proud Baggies, West Bromwich Albion's LGBT + Supporters' Group, were also in attendance at the event, promoting the Supporters' Group and also showing their support for the Football v Homophobia campaign.
Neil Basterfield, Co-Leader of Proud Baggies, said: "Proud Baggies is committed to making football a safe and inclusive space for everyone.
"I am delighted that we were able to partner with WBA Women and Pride Sports to deliver this important content and the team engaged with it so enthusiastically."
Proud Baggies aim to bring the football and LGBT+ community together to celebrate diversity and increase LGBT+ visibility at West Bromwich Albion - click here to find out more about their work.
Several West Bromwich Albion Women players and staff were also at the event, engaging and interacting with the Girls' ETC squads.
Proud Baggies were also invited to watch the squad train, ahead of Sunday's win over Derby County which marked the team's Football v Homophobia dedicated match.
Anna Miller, WBA Women goalkeeper and goalkeeper coach at The Albion Foundation, said: "The Football v Homophobia workshops with Proud Baggies were a great opportunity to get the Girls' ETC and the women's first team together in support of a campaign that pushes to end discrimination against LGBT+ athletes within football.
"It really struck me how many young players actually didn't know what homophobia meant, and after the incredible sessions run by Lou and Annette, they were able to leave with an understanding of homophobia as a form of bullying.
"Therefore the sessions gave them the tools and the language that will help them or someone they know in the future, and that to me can be life changing and live saving."