Pride in Sport Awards recognise athletes, clubs and organisations for LGBTQ inclusion

ACON Pride in Sport Awards 2019 - photo by Reg DomingoCricket Victoria, Tennis Australia, Australian Football League (AFL) club St. Kilda and Melbourne University Sport are among other sporting organisations and individuals who have been named as Australia’s best for LGBTQ inclusion at the Australian Pride in Sport Awards held on Wednesday evening (12 June) at the Cargo Hall in Melbourne.

Launched last year, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards is 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.

Cricket Victoria was recognised as the Highest Ranking State Sporting Organisation, while the St. Kilda Football Club took home the award for the Highest Ranking Professional Club. Tennis Australia and Melbourne University Sport were the Highest Ranking Overall Award joint recipients.

Three individuals across various sporting codes were awarded for their efforts in making their respective sports more inclusive of LGBTQ people on and off the field, with three community awards also being handed out.

The awards showcase the results of the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – a national benchmarking instrument used to asses LGBTQ inclusion within Australian sport.

ACON Vice-President and Co-Founder of the PSI, Andrew Purchas, said: “Despite significant recent gains in equality and law reform, the past year has shown that struggles continue to persist for LGBTQ people in Australia, including within the sporting sector.”

“These awards and the index continue to highlight the important inclusion work being done by many within Australian sport, as they provide sporting organisations and figures with an opportunity to reflect on their work in the inclusion of LGBTQ participants and staff, and identify areas they can address to ensure their sport is truly inclusive.”

“Many of Australia’s sporting organisations are taking the positive steps needed to be taken to ensure your sexuality, gender identity and experience does not impact your ability to play, watch or be involved with sport at any level.”

“I congratulate all the award recipients and the many others working towards making Australian sport an inclusive place for everyone and I’m proud to celebrate those success stories at the Pride in Sport Awards today,” said Mr Purchas.

The awards, hosted by NITV presenter Matty Webb, featured a host of leading sporting and community figures, including a keynote address from the first openly gay NRL referee Matt Cecchin, Australia’s first openly gay male soccer player Andy Brennan, and leading Australian cricketer and co-patron of Pride in Sport, Alex Blackwell.

This year’s PSI results saw a 61 per cent increase in index submissions, highlighting the focus sporting entities are beginning to put on LGBTQ inclusion within various codes. In addition, award nominations from the wider community also rose by 70 per cent, indicating that a far greater portion of the sporting community are achieving positive outcomes when they develop initiatives for inclusion at a grassroots level.

Pride in Sport Program Manager, Beau Newell said: “Since 2016, the Pride in Sport Index has continued to see a significant shift in practice with LGBTQ inclusion work in Australian sport. With a wide range of sporting organisations participating, we are seeing more and more commitments to providing safer and more inclusive environments and experiences for LGBTQ people.”

“While inclusion has well and truly made its way onto the Australian workplace diversity and inclusion agenda, there is more to be done to ensure that sport in Australia can experience greater levels of LGBTQ inclusion. I would like to congratulate each sport and the many volunteers on the efforts they are making to ensure everyone is welcome both on and off the sporting field,” said Mr Newell.

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Image:2019 Pride in Sport Awards recipients for Highest Ranking Overall – Tennis Australia and Melbourne University Sport (Joint Winners). Pictured (from left): Pride in Sport Program Manager Beau Newell, Tennis Australia National Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Irena Farinacci, Tennis Australia Head of Diversity Kerry Tabrou, Melbourne University Sport Pride and Diversity Coordinator Chris Bunting, Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer and Pride in Sport Co-founder Andrew Purchas – photo by Reg Domingo

2019 Pride in Sport Awards Recipients:

Highest Ranking Overall:
Melbourne University Sport and Tennis Australia

Highest Ranking State Sporting Organisation:
Cricket Victoria

Highest Ranking Professional Club:
St Kilda Football Club

LGBTI Ally Award:
David Kyle, North Gippsland Football & Netball League

LGBTI Inclusive Coach:
Aaron Lucas, Sydney Roller Derby League

LGBTI Community Sport:
Perth Pythons LGBTI+ Hockey Club

LGBTI Out Role Model:
Tony Boutoubia (Tennis)

LGBTI Inclusion Initiative:
LGBTIQA+ Women’s Water Polo Program (Sydney Stingers Water Polo)

Small Club Award:
Loton Park Tennis Club