Now here’s a feel-good story from the fine world of sport!
Guernseys the boys will wear ???? pic.twitter.com/XtdXWOUWwO
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) July 20, 2016
In addition, goal umpires will wave rainbow flags on the day, and the 50 metre arcs on the ground will be painted in rainbow colours. The Sydney Swans players will wear rainbow socks.
“Growing up, the footy club was the one place I thought I’d never be accepted. Homophobic language was routinely used on the field and it left me scared to be myself.”“Struggling in silence with my identity caused me so much heartache and pushed me to a very dark place. An event like this Pride Game would have made all the difference and given me confidence that I could belong.”“I’ve seen the impact a Pride Game had in my local community; it has changed the culture of clubs and created a safer, more inclusive environment for all players and supporters. I am so proud to see it taken to the national stage and I have no doubt it will be a life-changing event for many within the AFL family.”
Meanwhile, Saints CEO Matt Finnis said that the game was created both as a response to the growth of the Pride Cup, and the LGBTQI presence in the club’s traditional St Kilda home.
“Sadly, we know from research that many in the LGBTIQ community do not feel safe at sporting events and do not feel they can truly be themselves at sporting clubs.”“We want the LGBTIQ community to feel welcome and safe at AFL games and free to be themselves.”
The statistics behind the game are particularly damning: 87% of young gay Australians who play sport feel forced to hide their sexuality, either completely or partially. Meanwhile 57% of all participants believe that sporting clubs and games are not safe spaces for LGBTQI identifying people.