Essendon Endorses LGBTI Supporter Group ‘Purple Bombers’

The Essendon Football Club continues its #EFCRespect campaign aimed at promoting tolerance, respect and unity amongst supporters with the official formation of the LGBTI supporter group, the Purple Bombers. The move has also sparked renewed calls for the AFL to extend its themed round initiative to include a Gay Pride Round from next year, in the same vein that the scheme already features rounds dedicated to Women in football and the Indigenous population.

At a press conference today, recently appointed club CEO Xavier Campbell stated, “The Purple Bombers is great initiative. No matter what your race, religion, gender or sexuality – everyone deserves the right to head along and enjoy the football in a safe and positive environment.”

Our club has always championed diversity and inclusion at the football – and the formation of the Purple Bombers supporter group is the next step in this important initiative.”

The Purple Bombers founder Jason Tuazon-McCheyne – himself a 30-year member of the club and long-time player sponsor – stated that changing attitudes of supporters to remove discriminatory language and behaviour was of the utmost importance.

It’s really important than when I take my husband and my son to the football that I don’t have to hear discriminative or offensive words from the audience and I can feel safe and valued.” 

The Essendon Football Club does care about its fans. We have Indigenous and women’s things in place and now they’re saying we love our gay and lesbian fans and we want to create a safe environment for them.
The AFL doesn’t have any out players and a lot of its fans aren’t even out in the audience. It’s time that changed and we should have a diverse environment where we can all be accepted and appreciated for who we are.
It’s really important I can sit there and be happy and be myself and know that I’m accepted and valued by the club that I’ve loved all my life.
In addition to the formation of the group, the club also released a Members Code of Conduct that binds every member of the club during games, official club functions and, perhaps most importantly, on social media channels.
Bombers stand-in captain Brendon Goddard also backed the club’s new initiative and placed his support behind an official AFL Pride Round.
The Bombers are the latest club to include a LGBTI supporter group. The Collingwood Football Club have long had their Pink Magpies membership section in operation.
It’s moves like this that really push the game – and its supporters – towards better things.
Photo: Scott Barbour via Getty Images.