PARTICK Thistle unveiled their new kits for the 2019/20 season and a few eyebrows have been raised. The home kit was relatively straightforward, but it’s the away strip that’s garnered a lot of attention.

Partick Thistle have always prided themselves on being an open and inclusive club so it was with that in mind that the Firhill side made the bold decision for this year’s away strip to be plain white, with the LGBTQ+ pride flag running down the top's side.

Predictably - and depressingly - the club came under a bit of flak from some of their own supporters for the decision. As a Jags fan myself, I found it incredibly disheartening to see many of my fellow fans rolling their eyes at the “gay kit”, swearing that they would never buy it or merely disregarding the top as a PR exercise.


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There are plenty of reasons to be encouraged by this strip as a Thistle fan. We all know that there is a homophobic culture that has been pervasive in the football ever since a ball was first kicked. The fact that we have only had one openly gay footballer in Scotland in around 130 years of the sport in this country is nothing short of a stain on our national game.

There have been gay footballers. There are, undoubtedly, gay footballers playing today. But (understandably) none have felt they could come out because of the hostility they would face. We know that they are out there. Around one in 10 people are LGBTQ+, and there have been thousands of players plying their trade in Scotland. It’s a numbers game that points to one obvious answer; there are gay footballers who don't feel comfortable coming out.

Promoting inclusion and normalising LGBTQ+ sportspeople is an ongoing process, and is an area where dramatic improvement is required. Moments like Thistle’s kit launch aren’t going to change anything on their own, but send a powerful message that intolerance will not be, well, tolerated.


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So, to my fellow Partick Thistle supporters who are complaining about the strip, ask yourselves: what difference does it make to you? The answer, unequivocally, will be absolutely none. It’s a strip. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Or buy the home kit. I don’t care. Just because you’re indifferent towards it, that doesn’t mean that everyone is. For some, it could make a difference.

Scrolling through Twitter today, the number of replies to Thistle’s kit launch that utterly belittled the decision to try and be a bit more inclusive was disappointing. I always felt that Partick Thistle fans were a fairly open-minded, tolerant group. Obviously, these people criticising the new kit only represent a minority, but they are there. I guess that’s one positive from this kit launch; in it’s own way, it’s been a bit of an eye-opener.

I’ve always been proud to support my local team, and this new away kit only makes me prouder. There are a sizable minority who will disagree but this is a genuine step forward for promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion at Firhill, and Scottish football in general. The board in Maryhill are far from perfect but this time, they have made a wonderful decision. It might well only be incremental progress towards the eradication of homophobia from Scottish football but it is a step in the right direction. And that’s something that we haven’t seen enough of.