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01 Jul 2022

Limerick All-Star hurler helps launch new Pride T-shirts in support of the LGBTQI+ community

Limerick All-Star hurler backs new

Bord Gáis Energy ambassadors Gearoid Hegarty and Joe Canning with Bord Gáis Energy managing director Dave Kirwan, Focus Ireland chief executive officer Pat Dennigan and Panti Bliss. PIC: Sportsfile

BORD Gáis Energy have created 32 limited edition GAA County Pride t-shirts as part of their 'State of Play' campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of inclusivity and allyship in team sports.

Limerick hurling star Gearoid Hegarty joined up with Galway hurling hero Joe Canning and Rory O’Neill aka Panti Bliss to launch the campaign.

The t-shirts are on sale from at hairybaby.com for €20 and all proceeds will go to Focus Ireland to support young members of the LGBTQI+ community who are experiencing homelessness.

I’m delighted to be part of this campaign as I believe it’s hugely important that we work towards making ours a fully inclusive society, where people feel free to be who they are both on and off the pitch," said Gearoid Hegarty.

"I know that many people in the LGBTQI+ community don’t feel like they belong in team sports or that they can’t be themselves in that environment and that to me is something that we really need to change. I have gotten so much out of my own involvement in sport, and I would love to think that that anyone else who wants to get involved in sport can do so without worrying what people will say or think," said the 2020 Hurler of the Year.

Over three quarters (78%) of people want to see more sport stars supporting the LGBQTI+ community, and 84% believe sport can play an important role in promoting a positive discussion around inclusivity. That’s according to new research from Bord Gáis Energy.

The research was carried out to launch this new 'State of Play' campaign.

A lack of representation of the LGBTQI+ community at elite level (38%), lack of role models (35%) and concerns about feeling excluded (33%) are cited as key barriers to increasing participation by the LGBTQI+ community in team sports.

To increase participation, 27% want to see more visibility of LGBTQI+ players at elite level and 22% want to see clubs actively demonstrating a zero-tolerance policy for intolerance or discrimination.

The GAA is currently working with BeLonG To, Ireland’s LGBTQI+ youth organisation, to develop an online awareness module for GAA clubs and members designed to help remove barriers to sports participation for members of LGBTQI+ community.

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