Gay and gender diverse Victorians will give Aussie Rules a go later this year at an inaugural Rainbow Cup.
Organisers have said it was likely to be held in the second half of this year and there would be the two matches with one for men and one for women.
The No To Homophobia Campaign, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) and Team Melbourne are behind the event.
Openly gay country AFL player Jason Ball (pictured) will be playing in the matches and also promoting the event.
It is being modelled off the successful Harmony Cup which has run for for multicultural teams.
The coalition of local organisations is also working with Global Footy who has organised the Harmony Cup for the past five years.
No to Homophobia campaign coordinator Daniel Scoullar said the Rainbow Cup was an important step in making Aussie Rules Football a safe and inclusive sport – and one where LGBTIQ people can participate equally as players, coaches, volunteers and supporters without fear of harassment, discrimination or abuse.
“Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia need to be seen as critical public health issues that do huge harm to people’s physical and psychological health,” he said.
“In a ‘sports mad’ country like Australia, sports administrators and players have the power to reduce this harm by changing the culture of their sports from the inside-out.
“The rest of us have a responsibility to get involved and show the broader community that we love sport and insist on our place on the field, in the clubrooms and in the stands.”
Since 2010, Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Commission has been working with sporting clubs, specifically hockey, to promote safer spaces for the LGBTI community.
They have even successfully introduced the pro-gay sports initiative into a local high school.
A growing number of popular international sports stars have also been throwing their support behind pro-gay messages and urging any ‘closeted’ gay sports stars to reveal their sexuality.
Fairfax Media recently reported that no AFL footballers had publicly supported 24 year-old Ball since he came out last year.
Scoullar said the cup could even travel around the country if there was enough interest in it outside of Victoria.
Rainbow Cup organisers are looking for players, volunteers and supporters to pitch in for the cup.