FOOTBALLER Emily Rowe has spoken out in a new video for the St Kilda Saints ahead of their upcoming AFL Pride Game.

Rowe originally played football as a man prior to transition.

“This year, finally, I’ve been allowed to play football for the first time as a woman with the Shepparton Bears football club,” she said.

“Football was a challenge for me when I was living as male, because often I didn’t feel like I identified or I quite felt right in that environment.

“But now that I can play football as a woman, with the other women, and that the club has welcomed me with open arms, it’s the most amazing feeling. I’ve never had so much fun playing football in my life.”

Rowe spoke about the importance of inclusion and the role sporting clubs have to play around Australia.

“If anyone’s lived in regional Australia or suburban Australia they know that quite often the football team, the local football club, will be the heart and soul of that community. So it’s really important for transgender people to be welcomed and feel like they’re part of the community,” she said.

“It gives people an opportunity to get to know transgender people as people, because at the end of the day that’s all we are—we’re just normal guys and girls.”

St Kilda will take on Sydney in the second AFL Pride Game this Saturday night.

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