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Pride month is a time to celebrate love, acceptance and the vibrant spirit of the LGBTQ+ community. We are delighted to share with you the story of two athletes who exemplify this. Meet the McCostas…

We are family: Carla (left) and Kerry

Carla and Kerry McLaughlin-Da Costa are married and play for the East Kilbride Pirates (EKP) Womens Flag Football team.

Carla said: “As my wife and I ventured into the world of sports together, we discovered a haven of inclusivity in our local flag football team, the East Kilbride Pirates. From the moment we joined, we were embraced with open arms. This safe space allowed us to express our love for sports without fear of judgment or discrimination. It’s empowering to be part of a sport, locally and nationally, where diversity is not only welcomed but celebrated.

“Whether you identify as queer or simply want to show support as an ally, flag football encourages everyone to be themselves. Finding flag has reminded me, the importance of community and a reminder that sports can transcend boundaries, fostering a sense of unity and acceptance that resonates deeply during Pride Month and beyond.”

EKP Women’s Flag Football team: Carla (bottom left) Kerry top right, next to the coach

EKP has been very active playing its part in the celebration of Pride Month – hosting open taster sessions as part of the wider LEAP Sports Scotland #FestivalFortnight initiative, which encourages LGBTIQ+ people and their friends to find out more about what sport and physical activities are available to them.

Club Chair Amanda McDondald said: “We aim to make our club a welcoming place where everyone can feel supported and able to be themselves. We believe that everyone should be able to participate in and enjoy American football in a safe and positive environment – whoever they are and whatever their background.”

Other clubs who have led the line in celebrating Pride include Manchester Titans, Cardiff Valkyries and Peterborough Royals.