Health promotion foundation VicHealth is teaming up with Proud 2 Play and South West Sport to increase inclusion of LGBTI+ people and tackle discrimination and vilification in community sport.
The new initiative will support Victorian sports clubs to stamp out homophobic and transphobic language and behaviour on and off the field and create supportive club cultures so LGBTI+ players, volunteers and fans feel safe and comfortable to be themselves.
Foundations of LGBTI+ inclusion in community sport aims to increase awareness and knowledge about LGBTI+ inclusion in sports clubs through a series of online education modules.
VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs Kirstan Corben said sports clubs will play a key role in supporting people to reconnect with their community during the coronavirus recovery so it’s critical everyone feels welcome.
“We want all Victorians to feel they belong at a sports club regardless of their gender or sexual identity – who you are and who you love shouldn’t stop you from playing the sport you love,” Ms Corben said.
“It’s unacceptable that 40 per cent of LGBTI+ Australians have felt unsafe or vulnerable in a sporting environment. Homophobic sledges and excluding someone because of their sexuality should never be part of sport in Victoria.
“We know grassroots sports clubs want to be places where everyone feels they belong. This initiative is about giving them the tools they need to ensure LGBTI+ players, fans, officials and volunteers feel part of the team.”
Christine Granger CEO Proud 2 Play said community sports clubs play a vital role in bringing our communities together and creating a sense of connection for members.
“However, many members of the LGBTI+ community do not feel that sport is a safe and welcoming space for them,” Ms Granger explained.
“Inclusive environments play a key role in addressing these feelings and this initiative aims to provide community clubs with some of the tools they need create safe and welcoming environments.”
Michael Neoh, CEO of South West Sport said more needs to be done at a community sport level to encourage LGBTI+ inclusion.
“Sporting clubs act as social and physical activity hubs within our communities. However in some instances, not everyone shares the same experience while participating in sport and active recreation activities,” Mr Neoh said.
“South West Sport is excited to be collaborating with VicHealth and Proud 2 Play on an initiative that provides volunteers and members the tools and insights to create safer spaces for all.”
Learn more about LGBTI+ inclusion in sport at https://www.proud2play.org.au/