Pride Cup Australia’s #WeArePrideCup campaign launches today to promote LGBTI inclusion and acceptance in community sporting clubs across the country.

With the AFL’s third Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney Swans happening this weekend, Pride Cup Australia, with the support of VicHealth, St Kilda Football Club and Sydney Swans, is encouraging sports clubs across the country to host their own Pride Cup in 2019.

Since the first Pride Cup was held in 2014, over a dozen other Victorian grassroots clubs have thrown their support behind the model to make sure that no player, official or fan has to choose between the game they love and being themselves.

James Lolicato, co-founder of Pride Cup Australia and 2017 Australian Community Leader of the Year, said he hoped sports clubs would join in and show their LGBTI community members that they welcome and support them.

“Pride Cup harnesses the power of sport to make sure every [LGBTI] person feels welcome and supported in their local club,” Lolicato said.

“As the heart of many communities, sporting clubs have the power to create ripple effects and transform attitudes. Pride Cups have shown us first hand just how valuable this sense of inclusion is.”

Pride Cup Australia, VicHealth, St Kilda Football Club and Sydney Swans will together develop a set of resources and how-to guides to support community clubs to host their own pride-themed game in 2019 and beyond.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said grassroots sports clubs were at the heart of their community, and could have a huge impact on making LGBTI players and fans feel included.

“We know that inclusion is fundamental to good health and wellbeing for everyone and that a sense of exclusion—from sport or society generally—has contributed to [LGBTI] people having some of the poorest mental health outcomes in Australia,” Rechter said.

“The AFL’s Pride Game has been hugely successful, with over 90 per cent of [LGBTI] fans who attended finding it welcoming and inclusive. This is what we want [LGBTI] fans to experience at every football game—not just at Pride Game.

“That’s why we’re partnering with Pride Cup Australia to take the Pride Game message beyond AFL’s Pride Game into grassroots and community sport.”

St Kilda Football Club CEO Matt Finnis and Sydney Football Club CEO Andrew Ireland both welcomed the launch of the new campaign.

“The Yarra Glen Pride Cup was a major catalyst for St Kilda’s first ever Pride Game,” Finnis said.

“Now three years on, we are very proud to be supporting Pride Cup Australia’s launch and the #WeArePrideCup campaign in order to expand the reach of Pride Cups to all community sporting clubs.”

“The Sydney Swans strive to be a community leader in celebrating diversity, and our Diversity Action Plan reflects our commitment to the [LGBTI] community,” said Ireland.

“Supporting Pride Cup Australia and their community Pride Cups reiterates our ongoing commitment to making the sporting field a place where everyone is welcome and can feel safe.”

Sporting clubs interested in hosting a Pride Cup are encouraged to contact Pride Cup Australia.

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