Knights tackle homophobia with York Pride


York’s gay Pride, which achieved widespread media coverage in 2012 with the first gay Pride Parade through the historic city of York, is to join with the City’s professional football and rugby league teams for York Pride 2013 to take a groundbreaking stand against homophobia in sport.

The Saturday 1st June event – backed by FA Chairman Greg Dyke – will again begin with a Pride Parade leaving the Minster at 12-30pm, carrying a 100m long rainbow flag through the ancient streets of York and passing the Mansion House, where a rainbow flag will fly. This year the Parade will also include professional rugby league players, Yorkie and Norris the mascots from York City FC and York City Knights and many of the City’s politicians to send out the message that York will not tolerate homophobia and prejudice in sport. York City Knights Head Coach Gary Thornton and Director of York City Sophie Hicks will speak at the start of the Parade outside York Minster, together with Leader of the City Council, Cllr James Alexander. Later in the day York Central MP Hugh Bayley and York Outer MP Julian Sturdy will also address the crowd.  

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke, who is to become chairman of the Football Association in July and is also Chancellor of York University, has welcomed the stance being taken by York Pride and the involvement York’s major sports clubs. ‘It is excellent to see York’s professional football and rugby league teams line up alongside the gay community and say it is simply not acceptable for prejudice and homophobia to be part of sport in 2013’.

The Pride Parade will reach the Pride venue at the Knavesmire for an afternoon of entertainment, beginning at 1-30pm. Headlined by X-Factor’s Diva Fever and the legendary Bears Aloud, the afternoon mixes local singers, Lady Ga-Ga and Pink tribute acts and bigger names. There will be a wide range of other entertainment at York Pride, from fairground rides to a bridal fair for same-sex partners, plus a rugby skills area run by York City Knights and a penalty shoot-out zone run by York City. Also on site will be a bar, many stalls and variety of food and drink options. The party continues late into the night at the Duchess, off Stonebow, where an after-party runs from 11-30 pm.

“We are thrilled to get the support of York City Knights and York City FC in a groundbreaking and city-wide stand against intolerance and homophobia in sport. With the backing of the City Council and the City’s rugby league and football teams we are able to say that in 2013 people of all sexualities can participate and succeed in sport” said Julian Rudd of York Pride: “Whether you are gay or straight please come and join us for the York Pride Parade from the Minster on the 1st of June and send a message that York and North Yorkshire are tolerant places where people can enjoy their lives and participate fully – in sport and other aspects of life – regardless of whether they are lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender.”

The Knight’s Head Coach Gary Thornton added: “York City Knights are proud to support the 2013 York Pride Event. We as a club, and Rugby League as a sport, welcome anyone who wishes to be part of our great game and we hope that this year’s event gets this message to the wider public. Sport is a great way of bringing people together and we are delighted to play a role in taking a stand against homophobia.” The Knights will give out flyers at York Pride that give reduced price entry to the home game against Doncaster on 2nd June.

Although the event is free all attendees are asked to buy a York Pride 2013 wristband for £5. These give free entry into the Pride Pre-Party at Vanity on New Street on 31 May and entry to the Pride After-Party at the Duchess on 1st June. The wristbands also provide discounts at many York restaurants and shops over the Pride period. More details are available at and on the York Pride Facebook page.

For further information about the Rugby Football League’s campaign against homophobia click here.  


Or alternatively contact Sarah Williams, Equality and Diversity Manager for the Rugby Football League