At tonight’s Pride Game between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans, Etihad Stadium opened up all-gender toilets to embrace diversity in the sport. Tonight’s third annual Pride Game, set during the universal Pride Month, celebrates inclusion and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer/Questioning community.
The Pride Game also celebrates a significant change and growth in the AFL.
Footy-goers spotted the signs on the walls around the stadium as they walked in.
LGBTIQ activist Paul Kidd posted pictures of the signs to his Twitter earlier tonight.
“Gender diversity is welcome here. Please use the restroom that best fits your gender identity or expression.”
While another sign shows patrons where to find the toilets:
Kidd captioned the tweet: “Footy isn’t what it used to be (and that’s a very good thing).”
The Pride Game was first launched in 2016 by the Saints. This year they announced the game’s theme would be I’ll Stand By You.
Saints CEO Matt Finnis said:
“The Pride Game shines a light on the importance of inclusion and ensuring football is a game for everyone and it’s been a pleasure partnering with the Swans for the past few years to bring that concept to the big stage.”
Last year, the Swans also officially launched their Club’s Diversity Action Plan (DAP) – a joint initiative put together by Board members, staff, players, and community leaders.
The plan has four main goals including Disability Empowerment, LGBTIQ Pride, Multicultural Inclusion, and the Advancement of Women.
For tonight’s match, players wore rainbow socks and guernseys. The stadium itself also came alive with plenty of rainbow lights and banners.
Earlier this year, the Sydney Swans entered their own float into the 2018 Mardi Gras parade. Though this doesn’t suddenly fix the homophobia still present in AFL, it is a big step forward.
The Swans are currently on top with a massive lead.