MEMBERS of Victoria’s sexual and gender diverse community will be encouraged to play cricket in an inclusive environment as part of a ‘Pride Harmony Day’ being hosted during Midsumma Festival.

The day will be run by Proud2Play and Cricket Victoria and will promote LGBTI-inclusion in sport while providing the opportunity for people to try their hand at cricket.

Co-founder of Proud2Play James Lolicato said he hopes that a lot of rainbow families come down with their kids so they can have a go.

“We’re hoping that rainbow families will come down and see that sport is for them, and that their kids can come down and play in a safe and comfortable environment, free from homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia,” he said.

“And it’s not just LGBTI it’s all-inclusive, so people from all different walks of life can come down.

“We know from research that almost 78 per cent of young LGBTI people think sport isn’t for them because of P.E. in primary school and high school – which are meant to be safe and inclusive environments.

“So when they go into sport they don’t want to do it because it’s been fairly negative for them.”

In the lead up to the Midsumma event Proud2Play have held a number of free cricket training sessions open to all members of the LGBTI community and their allies.

Lolicato said the feedback on those sessions has been incredible.

“The director of the cricket club where we held them was so supportive, the team there made rainbow cookies and cupcakes for us and everything,” he said.

“And two parents that are part of a rainbow family have been down every single week and they send us a message after each session saying how much they appreciate it and how much their child loves what we’re doing.

“The child is non-binary, and they said now they want to be a cricket player.”

The Pride Harmony Day will also feature a marquee pride fame including Altona Cricket Club and other activities including children’s cricket-themed games, and Melbourne Renegades giveaways.

Beyond the event Lolicato said Proud2Play has a number of other exciting initiatives in the works for 2017.

“Starting from the end of January we’ll be starting a cricket program, and then we’re looking at starting a netball program in March,” he said.

“It really isn’t just for people who want to play, it’s sort of a safe and comfortable environment and a way for people to come down and meet other like-minded people.”

The Pride Harmony Day will take place on Saturday 21 January starting at 1PM. The event will be held at the JK Grant Reserve in Altona. Click here for more details.

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