Pride House plans to be present at every World Cup 2026 host city
LGBTQ+ non-profit organisation Pride House International has announced plans to have a strong presence in every host city in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Pride House International works to promote LGBTQ+ and support within local communities through its presence at large-scale sporting events.
Previous sporting events have included the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It will also be present at next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in France.
As part of its ‘Pride House United 2026’ project, Pride House International aims to team up with local LGBTQ+ organisations in every World Cup host city across North America to create inclusive, safe spaces during the global sporting event.
So far, the organisation has signed commitments with LGBTQ+ groups in nine of the 16 cities across the US, Canada, and Mexico.
Those cities include Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Monterrey, New York City/ New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Vancouver.
The remaining cities in which Pride House has yet to secure agreements with LGBTQ+ groups are Boston, Dallas, Guadalajara, Kansas City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Toronto.
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With a record 48 teams participating in the 2026 World Cup, FIFA has projected that it will see over 5.5 million fans attend the tournament.
That’s why Pride House is so eager to make its presence felt at the tournament.
Commenting on Pride House’s plans, project lead Keph Senett said: “In the relatively short history of Pride House, we’ve witnessed the concrete, positive, and lasting impact of these spaces on individuals, communities, and sport at large.
“The United 2026 men’s World Cup offers an unprecedented opportunity for communities across the entire continent of North America to show up for LGBTIQ+ human rights and visibility while participating in the most popular sport in the world.”
This is a particularly important aim for Pride House International after last year’s World Cup in Qatar, where controversy over the country’s mistreatment of LGBTQ+ people was rife.
David Beckham infamously came under fire when he signed a multi-million-pound deal to be an ambassador for Qatar 2022, despite its anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
Pride House International’s co-chair Lou Englefield noted that, while North America is nowhere near as anti-LGBTQ+ as Qatar, a recent surge in homophobic and transphobic legislation across the US and beyond gives the organisation all the more reason to make themselves visible at the football tournament.
“This next men’s World Cup is going to be really significant in terms of inclusive messaging at a time when we’re seeing a global backlash, including in parts of the U.S., for example,” Englefield told Outsport.
“Visibility is really key but so is the notion that LGBTQ+ people will be really included and will be an integral part of the tournament.”
Pride House International’s project is also backed by former German footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger, who publicly came out as gay in 2014 and is now a diversity ambassador for the German Football Association.
“Soccer is a community and nobody should be excluded,” he said.
“Spaces like Pride Houses are positive examples of how we can include everyone.
“When I came out, it was important to add something to the conversation to move us forward and now the main challenge is to continue speaking up, and to make sure everyone feels welcome in the game.”
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