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Pride Game's positive influence

Sydney Swans Media  July 20, 2017 9:54 AM

Coach John Longmire and his playing group ahead of Saturday night's Pride Game at the SCG.

Coach John Longmire and his playing group ahead of Saturday night's Pride Game at the SCG.

As we prepare for the second AFL Pride Game on Saturday night at the SCG it has been revealed the positive influence the inaugural event had on the wider community.

A case study undertaken by Latrobe University shows that developing and staging the 2016 Pride Game was an overwhelmingly positive experience for the AFL and LGBTIQ communities.

The study showed a small but significant attitudinal change including an increase in the level of awareness by non LGBTIQ attendees of the damaging health impacts of discrimination.

It also showed that there was a stronger feeling of inclusion from the LGBTIQ attendees at the game.

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

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

“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,” Minister of Equality and Mental Health Martin Foley said.

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

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said the Pride Game was an important step in making the AFL more inclusive towards LGBTIQ supporters, players and officials.

“We know that feeling excluded and discriminated against is a key driver of poor mental health and wellbeing in the LGTBIQ community,”Rechter said.

“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 head to the SCG on Saturday night as the Sydney Swans play host in the first Pride Game for premiership points in Sydney.