It has been a big week of growth and expansion for Proud 2 Play with four new leading sporting organisations or organisations joining Proud 2 Play in their journey towards making their sports more inclusive of LGBTI+ people.
Netball Victoria, Gymnastics Victoria, Hockey Victoria and Melbourne University Sport will join Proud 2 Play’s existing partner sports of Cricket Victoria, Football Victoria, Tennis Victoria and Athletics Australia/Athletics Victoria in supporting LGBTI+ inclusion in their sports.
In a first step in this space, all organisations participated in the latest meeting of the Rainbow Sports Alliance last week – an Australian-first Proud 2 Play-facilitated working group aiming encouraging sporting organisations work collaboratively to enhance inclusion across the Victorian sports landscape.
“This is a really exciting time for Proud 2 Play and LGBTI+ inclusion in sport in Victoria generally,” Proud 2 Play’s Partnerships Manager, Luke Major, said. “We now have great relationships with a very broad spectrum of sports meaning we hope that LGBTI+ people really feel they have a choice when it comes to sports participation rather than only feeling comfortable in a select number of sports.”
Netball Victoria are the peak body for netball in Victoria – one of Australia’s biggest team-based sports with over 1.2 million players nationwide. Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at Netball Victoria, Mitch Gourley, said, “We want to be able to share one of Australia’s most well-loved sports with the LGBTI+ community, which is why we have decided to partner with Proud 2 Play to try and do that.”
Gymnastics Victoria’s Inclusion and Programs Manager, April Wilson, says it is becoming more common for children in gymnastics to identify as transgender or gender diverse. “We know that the majority of gymnastics participants are under the age of 12 years, but even in this demographic, we are seeing more LGBTI+ representation in the sport.
“We have a chance to foster a really positive sporting environment early on in people’s lives, which hopefully will translate to sports participation for life,” she explained.
In partnership with Pride Cup, Hockey Victoria recently supported a series of Pride Cups in clubs such as Camberwell Hockey Club and Altona Hockey Club. “These Pride Cups really showed that the Victorian hockey community is here to welcome the LGBTI+ community with open arms” Hockey Victoria’s Inclusion Manager, Michaela Cook, reflected.
“Our partnership with Proud 2 Play will add a lot of value to the work we are doing at hockey to be as inclusive as we can for LGBTI+ people.”
Pride Cup at Camberwell Hockey Club. Photo credit: Sophia de Wit Photography
Off the back of their Pride in Sport win for highest ranking organisation in Australia, Melbourne University Sport are capitalising on their momentum in this space by partnering with Proud 2 Play.
Melbourne University Sport’s Pride and Diversity Coordinator, Chris Bunting, said, “Universities on the whole are usually quite progressive places. I am hoping that Proud 2 Play’s other partner sports see this as an opportunity to trial inclusion initiatives with the clubs there who will be very receptive to LGBTI+ inclusion.”
Proud 2 Play are incredibly excited to be working with this broad range of sports and hope that the LGBTI+ community sees that the Victorian sporting community are committed to improving inclusion of all people regardless of sexuality, sex or gender identity. The Rainbow Sports Alliance next meet in October.