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Major sporting codes sign up for new system to measure LGBTI inclusion

March 16, 2016

In a world first, six major Australian sporting codes, including all professional football codes, have signed up to a national benchmarking framework to evaluate their efforts to better include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people within their organisations.

Launched today (16th March), the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – the only one of its kind in the world – will be used by the Australian Rugby Union, National Rugby League, Australian Football League, Football Federation of Australia, Cricket Australia and Water Polo Australia to regularly measure how they support their LGBTI players, staff, spectators and supporters.

The PSI is an independently administered benchmarking system that provides the opportunity for all national and state sporting organisations to have their LGBTI related initiatives, programs and policies reviewed, measured and monitored.  

PSI results will be published every year to show how participating organisations measure up, and awards will be provided to participating organisations and individuals demonstrating excellence in the promotion of LGBTI inclusion. The first awards ceremony will be in May 2017, acknowledging and rewarding efforts made during 2016.

The PSI has been developed following the release last year of the ground breaking Out On The Fields study, which provided some alarming statistics: only 1% of respondents felt that LGB people were accepted in sporting culture, and almost 80% believed that openly LGB fans would not be safe as spectators.

National and state sporting organisations are being encouraged to participate in the Pride in Sport Index alongside the ARU, NRL, AFL, FFA, CA and WPA. The Pride in Sport Index is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Sports Commission and a legacy of the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 (the world cup of gay rugby).

In addition, to the Pride in Sport Index, a new program – called Pride in Sport – has also been launched to help organisations better support their LGBTI players, staff, spectators and supporters. Pride in Sport provides members with a range of services to help them develop and implement effective LGBTI inclusion practices. The Pride in Sport program is operated by NSW-based HIV and LGBTI health organisation ACON, and partners with ACON’s Pride in Diversity program which works to address LGBTI related discrimination and exclusion within Australian workplaces.

ACON Vice President and co-founder of the Pride in Sport Index, Andrew Purchas explains “in 2014, Australia’s major sporting codes signed up to the Australian Anti Homophobia and Inclusion Framework for Australian Sport. Today’s launching of the world’s first Pride in Sport Index continues this important work.

“The Index will be more than just a signature on a piece paper. It will provide the means for sporting organisations to demonstrate how they’re reducing homophobia and transphobia and making sport more accessible for all.”

Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs Dawn Hough adds “we’re delighted to be launching the Pride in Sport Index and Pride in Sport program today.

“We believe that these two initiatives will make a significant difference to the lives of LGBTI people, not only athletes and players, but staff, volunteers, officials, coaches, parents and spectators.

“Nowhere else in the world, has an LGBTI inclusivity index and support program for sporting organisations and clubs been launched at a national level to tackle homophobia and exclusion in sport. We think that is something of which that Australians can be very proud.”

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) General Manager, Participation and Sustainable Sport Michael Thomson concludes “the ASC believes sport should promote fairness, equity and integrity in sporting behaviour. Sport should be a place where people feel welcome and safe and where they are treated with respect and dignity.

“The Pride in Sport Index (PSI) provides sporting organisations with an opportunity to reflect on their work in the inclusion of LGBTI participants and staff and identify areas they can address to ensure their sport is truly inclusive. The ASC commends those sports that have committed to completing the PSI in the first year, and looks forward to seeing the PSI continue to grow.”

For more information go to www.prideindiversity.com.au/prideinsport

Images: Swimming legend Ian Thorpe is backing Pride in Sport (top) and Sydney Rangers FC - Pride Football Australia Team for 2015 (below).

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