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AFL club St Kilda affirms commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion

AFL club St Kilda affirms commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion
July 19, 2017

The St Kilda Football Club has reaffirmed its commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion in launching the second annual AFL Pride Game at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda.

Launching the event and research results from a Latrobe University study into the impact of the 2016 AFL Pride Game, St Kilda Chief Executive Matt Finnis was joined by Victorian Minister of Equality and Mental Health Martin Foley, VicHealth Chief Executive Jerril Rechter, St Kilda player Sam Gilbert and AFL Womens star Emma Kearney.

The case study shows that developing and staging the 2016 Pride Game was an overwhelmingly positive experience for both the Saints and LGBTIQ communities, resulting in small but significant attitudinal changes. These included an increase in the level of awareness by non-LGBTIQ attendees of the damaging health impacts of discrimination, and a stronger feeling of inclusion for LGBTIQ attendees.

The survey of more than 3,700 AFL fans found:

• Nearly three out of five participants had experienced homophobia or transphobia at an AFL game
• Before Pride Game more than 50% of LGBTIQ fans thought AFL games are not inclusive or welcoming
• More than 90% of LGBTIQ fans found Pride Game safe, inclusive and welcoming
• More than 67% of straight fans said they were likely to intervene if they heard homophobic comments after the Pride Game.

Commenting on the research, Minister Foley stated “the annual Pride Game is another great milestone for our LGBTIQ community to be proud of - sending the message far and wide that equality is not negotiable.

"I congratulate the St Kilda Football Club, Sydney Swans and the AFL for showing great leadership and look forward to watching the game.”

Rechter said the Pride Game was an important step in making the AFL more inclusive towards LGBTIQ supporters, players and officials, adding “we know that feeling excluded and discriminated against is a key driver of poor mental health and wellbeing in the LGTBIQ community.

“We also know that rates of suicide attempts of same-sex attracted Australians are nearly 14 times higher than their heterosexual peers. That’s just unacceptable.

“The Pride Game sends a message to young and not so young LGBTIQ people that they are welcome and safe in this sport. That diversity is cause for celebration, not disrespect or exclusion.”

After hosting the first ever Pride Game at the elite level last year, the Saints will once again join the Sydney Swans in celebrating Pride at Saturday night’s clash at the SCG.

The Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda will welcome Saints fans, members of the LGTBIQ community and anyone wanting to be involved, with a special live screening of the match on Saturday night.

Finnis advised “as a club we are proud to continue to promote the message that everyone is welcome in football.

“We are committed to creating an environment at AFL matches where the LGBTIQ community feel safe in attending, free to be themselves and ultimately feel a sense of belonging.

“The Pride Game was born out of similar initiatives at community football level and is ultimately designed to influence a change of attitudes and behaviours within the sporting environment, with an emphasis on fostering inclusion.”

Finnis said the club was delighted to extend an important partnership with VicHealth for a further 18 months to continue to promote this important message, concluding “through the Pride Game and other initiatives, we are striving to tackle homophobia and transphobia, and other barriers that prohibit members of the LGTBI community feeling welcome in the sporting environment.

“We all know how important being active is to both mental wellbeing and physical health and also know that language used in and around sport can lead to members of the LGBTI community feeling excluded and unwelcome.”

The St Kilda Football Club also released its Lessons of Pride, a publication designed to assist other sporting groups, clubs and organisations in holding their own events to celebrate inclusion and diversity.

Click here for the full Latrobe University study. 

25th May 2017 - AFL NAMED ‘ORGANISATION OF THE YEAR’ AT LGBTI INCLUSION AWARDS

30th March 2017 - FREE RAINBOW LACES DISTRIBUTION BOOSTS ONGOING CAMPAIGN FOR INCLUSION IN SPORT 

16th February 2017 - VICHEALTH SUPPORTS DIVERSE COMMUNITIES THROUGH INNOVATION IN SPORT 

6th February 2017 - LA TROBE UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES AUSTRALIA’S FIRST SPORTS ANALYTICS DEGREE

1st December 2016 - SWIMMING AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES INCLUSION FRAMEWORK

15th November 2016 - AFL ADVISED TO PLAN FOR LONG TERM INTEREST IN WOMEN’S COMPETITION

24th September 2016 - GENDER BALANCE IN SPORT VITAL TO IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH 

25th August 2016 - AFL 2016 MEMBERSHIP DATA SHOWS HAWTHORN AS THE BEST SUPPORTED CLUB

1st April 2016 - AUSTRALIAN RUGBY UNION AND SKINS SUPPORT ‘RAINBOW ROUND OF SPORT’

31st March 2016 - RAINBOW LACES CAMPAIGN AIMS TO KICK HOMOPHOBIA OUT OF SPORT

16th March 2016 - MAJOR SPORTING CODES SIGN UP FOR NEW SYSTEM TO MEASURE LGBTI INCLUSION

28th June 2015 - ANTI-HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORT CAMPAIGN WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

11th May 2015 - MAJOR AUSTRALIAN SPORTING CODES PLEDGE TO COMBAT HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORT 

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