#PrideGame and the need for explicit statements of acceptance

St. Kilda (Saints) got THUMPED on the weekend 😡😡😡😡. It was by the Sydney Swans, so I guess it’s OK. Swans aren’t too bad. Hey Swans fans 😀.

So, apart from being ANOTHER humiliating defeat for the Saints *sigh*, it was a special round – a Pride Round – an effort by the AFL to proclaim that everyone – including LGBTQ+ fans are welcome to play and watch the game.

This was a long time coming. In 2012, Jason Ball – a former footballer of the Yarra Valley and now Greens candidate – came out as gay. This revelation has sparked discussion on whether LGBTQ+ athletes in general, and AFL players and fans in particular were able to be included in the game and be out about who they are.

The AFL hasn’t escaped controversy when it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion. In2010 ex – Brisbane Lions and former Western Bulldogs player, Jason Akermanis caused outrage when he said that the AFL “wasn’t ready” for an out gay footbalker and that they should remain in the closet and that other players may feel “uncomfortable” if they knew one of their players were gay. Because of that and other controversies, I can understand why the AFL has different rounds, such as “Pride Round” and “Indigenous Rounds”. I do think it’s a good idea for major sports codes and other significant cultural events to explicitly state that discrimination in ANY form will not be tolerated. I think it’s good for companies, sports codes, etc, to explicitly state whether for not members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome. The reason why I say that is because a lack of discussion can automatically be interpreted as members of the LGBTQ+ not welcome or, they should shut up about it. And it is often only a matter of time when the truth comes out (no pun intended), or people essentially live a lie and have that eat at them. For younger people who are struggling with their sexuality, silence can exacerbate feelings of shame and the idea that if, heaven forbid, they are found out about, they will lose much of what they hold dear – family, friends, career, etc.

 

I’ll provide a rather personal example. Before the SCOTUS ruling on same – sex marriage across all 50 States last year,  I admit, I was very, very careful about what I posted here in fear of backlash. Seeing a number of my friends add the rainbow flag filter on their profile picture, it was confirmation for me that whatever I posted here, the likelihood of personal ramifications was minimal. After the Orlando shooting, memes assuring that straight people stand besidectge LGBTQ+ community was also comforting.

I NEED to be TOLD that I’m welcome for who I am. I need to be assured thatmy world won’t collapse if I came out to someone. I need to know that there are people I can be myself around. I daresay that LGBTQ+ athletes need the same from their codes. That’s why the Pride Round I believe, was and is needed.

 

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3 comments on “#PrideGame and the need for explicit statements of acceptance

  1. annalisanuttall says:

    I don’t follow American sport, but if this is true – god what is gong on with the world and why can’t everyone aspect that love is love. xx

    • S. says:

      It’s the Australian Football League – one of the main codes of football in Australia, ( another big one in northern New South Wales and Queensland is the National Rugby League.

      To me, it goes even beyond the ‘love is love’ thing. Because they have games dedicated to people of Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander heritage and multiculturalism in general. I take all this as a statement by the AFL that EVERYONE is welcome to both play and watch the games.

  2. […] it’s highlighted what I wrote in this post that the AFL is making a concerted effort to be inclusive and ensure that everyone – players […]

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