Pride in Sport (PiS) in partnership with twelve National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) have come together to form and launch the ‘Pride in Sport Collective’.
The Pride in Sport Collective will change the landscape of Australian sport by addressing the barriers and mental health disparities of the LGBTQ+ community and their high disconnect rates with sport.
The research-based approach, featuring mental health experts and the participating NSOs, will see sporting bodies in Australia deliver capacity building, community engagement, marketing, and promotional initiatives.
As a key component of the program funded by a grant from Sports Australia, each of the 12 NSOs involved have committed to offering events aimed at breaking down the barriers to the LGTBQ+ community participating in organised sport.
The project will also see participating sports implement governance and LGBTQ+ inclusion reforms, policies and resources and provide leadership for other sports to follow.
Touch Football Australia (TFA) is the lead NSO for the project due to their strong advocacy in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including the recent launch of a ‘Touch of Pride’, a two-day Touch Football tournament and celebration of LGBTQ+ inclusion.
TFA Chief Executive Officer Jamie O’Connor outlined the importance of the project and the joint NSO approach.
“Touch Football Australia is deeply committed to providing a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all people to participate in sport and we are honoured to be leading this project alongside the other NSOs,” said O’Connor.
“We know that the LGBTQ+ community are less likely to participate in sport through fear of discrimination.”
“This project will build a portfolio of positive LGBTQ+ policies to make Australia’s sporting landscape more inclusive which we hope will bring down the alarming rates of suicide and self-harm in the LGBTQ+ community,” said O’Connor.
Pride in Sport Advisory Chair Andrew Purchas OAM welcomed the project and thanked Sport Australia and TFA for their support. “Sport plays a critical role in Australians’ identity, mental health and physical wellbeing,” he said.
“Congratulations to Sport Australia and Touch Football Australia for making the Pride in Sport Collective a realty and involving 12 disparate sports in working together to promote sexuality and gender diversity and inclusion in their sports.”
“The program itself demonstrates the strength of diversity. Pride in Sport is looking forward to working with the Pride in Sport Collective and providing the tools, approaches and expertise enabling each of the sports to maximise participation and engagement with LGBTQ+ communities,” said Mr Purchas.
The twelve NSOs that form the Pride in Sport Collective are: Touch Football Australia (lead NSO), Pride in Sport, Cricket Australia, Water Polo Australia, Gymnastics Australia, Badminton Australia, Paddle Australia, Australian Fencing Federation, Hockey Australia, Australian Eight Ball Federation, Australian Dragon Boat Federation, Diving Australia and Squash Australia.
For more information about Pride in Sport, visit: www.prideinsport.com.au for details.
Image: Pride in Sport Collective Launch – photo by Deep Field Photography