Pioneering Awards to celebrate LGBTQ inclusion in Australian Sport

Australian Pride In Sport AwardsSporting identities, clubs and codes across the country will gather in Melbourne in June for the second annual Australian Pride in Sport Awards to celebrate outstanding achievements in LGBTQ inclusion in Australian sport, both on and off the field.

First held in 2018, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards was the first celebration of its kind dedicated solely to recognising exceptional efforts in making sport more inclusive of LGBTQ people. It is produced by Pride in Sport – the national not-for-profit sporting inclusion program spearheaded by Australia’s largest LGBTQ health organisation ACON.

The Australian Pride in Sport Awards will honour athletes, employees and organisations as it showcases the results of the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – the national benchmarking instrument used to assess LGBTQ inclusion within Australian sport.

Launched in 2016, the PSI was developed in conjunction with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Sports Commission and Bingham Cup Sydney, alongside an advisory group comprising representatives from a range of peak sporting bodies including the National Rugby League, the Australian Football League, the Australian Rugby Union and Football Federation Australia.

Emceed by SBS and NITV’s Matty Webb, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards will feature a host of leading sporting and community figures, including Pride in Sport patrons: World Cup and Ashes winning cricket captain Alex Blackwell and former Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski. Funds raised from the awards will support efforts making Australian sports inclusive of LGBTQ communities.

“I have been lucky enough to play my chosen sport of cricket with a powerhouse nation of the game,” said Ms Blackwell. “In my experience, enabling visibility of LGBTQ people in sport is essential in driving the narrative for the change we need in sport and society.”

“Positive LGBTQ visibility in sport sends a clear message to our up and coming athletes who may be struggling with their sexuality and/or gender identity that they are welcome in sport just as they are.

“Having participated in the positive changes cricket has made to respect and celebrate women, I am now proud to be a patron of the Pride in Sport program that will help create safer and more inclusive environments for LGBTQ people in all Australian sport. With the PSI we have a real opportunity to be the world leader in this space.”

ACON Vice President and Co-Founder of Pride in Sport and the PSI, Andrew Purchas, said the awards builds on progress in achieving LGBTQ rights and ongoing work in making sporting arenas, fields, and spectator stands more inclusive. “This year has been a watershed for the LGBTQ community, thanks to the long overdue victory on marriage equality and the unprecedented national visibility – for better or worse – in the national discourse,” said Mr Purchas.

“The focus on LGBTQ inclusion, zero tolerance of homophobia and transphobia, not only within the corporate sector via their diversity and inclusion practices, but also within sport and society as a whole is unprecedented. Sport has the opportunity to ensure that this focus translates to meaningful societal change and is not just fad.”

“Sport breaks down barriers. Sport aims to create a fair go for all. The Pride in Sport Awards allows us to celebrate the outstanding achievements of clubs and individuals in improving and promoting LGBTQ inclusion within Australian sport,” added Mr Purchas.

The 2019 Australian Pride in Sport Awards will takes place at Cargo Hall – South Wharf (Melbourne) on Wednesday 12 June 2019. For more information, visit: www.prideinclusionprograms.com.au for details.

Image: Australian Pride In Sport Awards – courtesy of ACON

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