KEIGHLEY Cougars have been recognised for their groundbreaking work making a positive difference to the lives of the LGBTQ+ community.

The club has been shortlisted for an accolade in the annual Gaydio Pride Awards.

It is amongst three finalists in the LGBTQ+ Sports Club or Team of the Year category.

The rugby league club has been a pioneer within sport in its support of the LGBTQ+ community.

It stages Pride matches and hosts events at Cougar Park, and earlier this year became the UK's first sports club to dedicate a terracing area – adorned with vibrant rainbow colours – to the community.

Cougars managing director, Kaue Garcia, says it is "a real honour" to be nominated in the Gaydio Pride Awards.

He adds: "It shows our commitment to inclusivity, particularly regarding the LGBTQ+ community, which matters profoundly because we acknowledge and recognise the power of our platform within the sports realm.

"Promoting inclusivity, since 2019, has never been about blending politics with sport; rather, it's about utilising our influence to foster positive societal change.

"The ongoing struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community, especially the heightened attacks on the trans community, underscore the urgency for acceptance and understanding.

"By championing inclusivity at Keighley Cougars, we aim to shift mindsets, even if it impacts just a few individuals.

"The environment we have cultivated at Cougar Park reflects this dedication, sparking visible positive changes.

"Countless fans, previously holding misconceptions, have encountered a diverse and welcoming atmosphere, leading to transformative experiences.

"Through these interactions, perceptions are altered, fostering empathy and dismantling prejudices, potentially changing hundreds of perspectives and contributing to a more accepting society.

"That has been our main goal. If we can change one person’s mindset every year, that is progress.

"Hopefully that one person will change another, and another, and a positive cycle begins."

The Gaydio Pride Awards feature 13 categories.

Cougars are up against Cardiff Lions and the Transmanian Devils in their section.

Winners will be announced in a ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Manchester, on February 16.

Kriss Herbert, for Gaydio says: "We are thrilled to unveil the official shortlist for the Gaydio Pride Awards 2024 with Hilton. Our shortlist spotlights outstanding individuals, charities, events and organisations that make a difference, inspire change and continuously have a positive impact on the lives of the LGBTQ+ community.

"We can’t wait to celebrate our finalists and reveal the winners at the ceremony."