The Sydney Swans will compete in the third official Pride Game for premiership points against St Kilda on Saturday night.
The Swans played Fremantle in the first ever AFL Pride Game in the pre-season of 2015 at Drummoyne Oval.
The following year, the club joined St Kilda in playing an in-season Pride Game in Melbourne, then reciprocated hosting the match in 2017 – which marked the first Pride Game in Sydney for premiership points.
That match at SCG last year attracted a crowd of 35,773 people for a celebration of colourful celebration underpinned by the key theme Everyone Is Welcome.
It was this match that saw the Club win an Australian LGBTI Award in the Community Initiative/Charity category as an organisation that has changed, or continues to change, the lives of LGBTI people.
The match in 2017 was a celebration of diversity with the key focus on promoting inclusion. The crowd was a sea of rainbow flags, players ran out through a rainbow banner saying: “Everyone is Welcome”, while the club’s official LGBTI supporter group the Rainbow Swans were front and centre throughout.
The Pride Game was a genuine coming together of every part of the Sydney Swans community and the week leading up to the match was marked with the launch of Sydney’s Diversity Action Plan (DAP).
The first of its kind in the AFL, the DAP is a joint initiative of Sydney’s Board, staff, players and community leaders to formalise meaningful commitments in four key areas: disability empowerment, multicultural inclusion, the advancement of women, and LGBTIQ pride.
The Swans also march in the 2018 Mardi Grad Parade - in what is believed to be the first professional sporting team to enter a float in the parade.
“LGBTI Pride is one of the four pillars of our Diversity Action Plan, which outlines our commitments to inclusion,” CEO and Managing Director of the Sydney Swans Andrew Ireland said in January.
“We want to be an inclusive club and we want everyone to feel welcome at the football. It’s about making people feel welcome, safe and included.”
As part of the DAP the Sydney Swans have committed to continuing to celebrate the Pride Game, which will this year take place against St Kilda this weekend at Etihad Stadium.