This weekend sees Growthbuilt SUANFC and SUWAFLC celebrate Pride Round, a day aimed at celebrating the diversity that defines our game and seeks to raise awareness for LGBTIQA+ issues, including the role we can all play in eliminating homophobia within sport.
Every team across the two clubs will be wearing rainbow socks in support of Camp Out, a not for profit organisation that creates safe spaces for young people to explore and express their identities. It is a charity close to the heart of the Bombers in particular, with a number of players volunteering their time to the cause across the course of the season.
Earlier this week, our playing group was addressed by great friend of the club, Sydney University academic and current AFLW umpire, Dr. Victoria Rawlings, on understanding the impact of homophobia and how to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all players and supporters.
“Research has shown that sporting clubs can be hostile places for people who are LGBTIQA+. In other words, people who are not straight or cisgender often feel that they won’t be accepted as players, spectators, supporters or officials in sport,” said Dr. Rawlings.
“If players and club leaders within clubs think carefully about their language, behaviours and how they indirectly include or exclude people, they can start to make their clubs better places for everyone. Pride Round at SUANFC is about the club showing that they are aware of this power of heteronormativity and homophobia, and sending a clear signal that everyone- particularly LGBTIQA+ people- should be welcome at the footy.”
NEAFL defender Lachlan Kilpatrick has been a supporter of the Pride Round concept since its inception and sees it as a valuable tool to develop understanding and support.
“Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin, and everyone deserves to feel comfortable in sporting environments, whatever that sport is.
“This initiative is important to show our support and encourage people to be who they are, and feel like they are playing for a sporting code and club that cares for its participants.”
Saturday promises to deliver us some exciting football with the Students taking on the reigning premiers UNSW-ES Bulldogs in the Men’s Premier Division in a game that could decide the Minor Premiership, and in the Women’s Premier Division the Bombers take on local rivals the Newtown Breakaways under lights.