Rugby Australia, Cricket Australia, Tennis Australia, Cricket Victoria, Football Federation Australia and National Rugby League and 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 today at Dockside in Sydney, and live-streamed online.
First held in 2018, 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, as part of its Pride Inclusion Programs.
Melbourne University Sport was recognised as both the Sporting Organisation of the Year and Most Improved, with Raelene Castle being awarded the LGBTQ Ally of the Year award. ABC Journalist Monique Schafter and health expert Cristyn Davies won the Positive Media award for their sports-themed short film, Well Played: Young, Proud and Active, produced for LGBTQ youth agency Twenty10.
For the first time, this year’s PSI saw the awarding of a Gold Tier to three organisations: Cricket Victoria, Melbourne University Sport and RMIT University Sport. Silver Tier recognition was awarded to Football Federation Australia, National Rugby League, Rugby Australia and Tennis Australia, and Bronze went to Cricket Australia, Macquarie University Sport and Sydney Sixers BBL Cricket Club.
Awards were also awarded to two other individuals across various sporting codes 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. (See next page for complete list of award recipients.)
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: “As with the rest of country, Australian sport has faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 but despite this, sporting clubs and organisations have continued to dedicate themselves to ensuring that LGBTQ people are welcome on the pitch.
“These awards and the index continue to set the inclusion agenda within Australian sport and highlight the important work being done by many, as they provide sporting bodies 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.
“Despite this year’s obstacles and disruptions, many of Australia’s sporting organisations are continuing to take the positive steps needed to ensure a person’s sexuality, gender identity and experience does not impact their 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,” Mr Purchas said.
The awards were hosted by Ladies Who League founder, Mary Konstantopoulos, who sat down with former NRL player and new Pride In Sport co-patron Ian Roberts – taking over from Olympian Daniel Kowalski – in a candid one-on-one talk on stage. Roberts will join Australian cricket icon, Alex Blackwell, as co-patrons of the program.
National Program Manager for Pride in Sport Beau Newell said: “Since it was established in 2016, PSI 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 greater and sustained commitments to providing safer and more inclusive environments and experiences for sexuality and gender diverse people”.
“Inclusion has firmly established itself into 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, and every LGBTQ person feels welcome in the sports they love to play.
“I would like to congratulate each sport and the many volunteers on the efforts they are making to ensure everyone is included and supported,” Newell said.