Sporting clubs of all kinds around Australia have been encouraged to organise a Pride Cup to celebrate and grow LGBTIQ inclusion.
While sporting events and gatherings may have been shut down for the immediate future during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride Cup Australia is offering support for clubs that want to hold their own rainbow event when restrictions are lifted.
Melbourne’s Kew Cricket Club hosted a Pride Cup against St Bernard’s Cricket Club in December – the second ever of what organisers hope will be many such events for Australian cricket clubs.
As well as the match, won by St Bernard’s after a special joint training session, the day included an LGBTIQ education session and discussion with star guests including footballer Hannah Mouncey.
The event was the initiative of Kew player Ben Smith, whose club was uniformly positive about the event.
“The Pride Cup was extremely important from a club perspective,” said Kew Cricket Club President Peter Sist.
“Hosting a Pride Cup both encouraged us and held us to account to ensure that we are providing a welcoming, non-judgmental, and safe environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
St Bernard’s President Brendan Davey said the day was a huge success and raised awareness of issues affecting LGBTIQ people in sport.
“The feedback received has been really positive,” he said.
“We trained with Kew on Tuesday, we had dinner together, and we heard from speakers that really challenged our thinking and understanding – all this before a ball was bowled.
“It was like nothing we had experienced before.”
With many LGBTIQ people feeling unable to participate in sport due to issues such as discrimination and bullying, highlighting diversity and respect is paramount for inclusion.
Following the Pride Cup, Davey said that players have continued to practise what they learned about LGBTIQ inclusivity and respect.
“In my opinion, the greatest shift in attitude I have seen so far is the understanding of what can and can’t be said and what effect our words have on others,” he said.
“Players are checking themselves before they go to make a comment that may be offensive or unacceptable.”
Sist said that future Pride Cups will be held between the two clubs and strongly encouraged other clubs to hold their own events.
Pride Cup Australia supports all kinds of sporting clubs, from AFL to netball, to organise events celebrating the LGBTIQ community.
Clubs can get information and register their event and education session online.