No rain will be needed this weekend to guarantee a rainbow, with community clubs across Queensland celebrating the third annual Pride Round.
The round aims to combat homophobia by establishing an inclusive environment for the LGBTIQ+ community and celebrate diversity within community football.
Head of AFL Queensland, Trisha Squires, said the EXIMM Pride Round was about ensuring the game was a welcome place for everyone.
“It’s about our players, coaches, umpires, supporters and administrators. At AFL Queensland, we want to make sure that everyone feels safe and celebrated within our code,” she said.
“It’s also about bringing other people from our community into our game and a lot of the events and activations that happen around Pride Round.
“What’s also great about Pride Round is the guernseys are fantastic, we love seeing the different rainbow guernseys come out to play.”
Clubs around the state, including Broadbeach and Kedron, will mark the round with full day of men’s and women’s football, as well as pre and post-game functions.
The Bond University QAFLW will headline the 2021 EXIMM Pride Round, with all eight clubs coming together to play their games back-to-back in a blockbuster fixture at Coorparoo AFC, with entertainment guaranteed on and off the park.
In what’s become tradition now, players will sport rainbow socks, colourful hair, with a number of clubs also donning custom pride-themed guernseys.
In addition, umpires will wave rainbow-coloured flags and the 50m arcs will also be transformed into rainbows.
“For the Coorparoo Football Club, it’s one of our values to support the community and be an ally for the LGBITQ+ community. We’re really happy to support the inclusiveness of the day and really showcase what Coorparoo is about and what Pride Round means to us,” said Coorparoo AFC’s Michael Artis.
For many players, Pride round is one of the most important on the calendar.
“It’s pretty amazing, all teams get to play together on the same day, we all get to see each other, cheer each other on and we get to wear the amazing guernseys,” said Yeronga South Brisbane’s QAFLW captain, Mia Walsh.
“I think Pride Round is so important because it’s not just showing awareness but it’s showing acceptance and it’s showing that no matter how you identify, you always have a place here in the AFL,” said Mt Gravatt’s Lisa Milne.
“What Pride Round means to me is the affirmation that I belong here fully as myself. So often in life you have to hide certain aspects of yourself or you can’t be fully who you are but when I get down to Sherwood, I can play footy and be my full self,” said Sherwood’s Olivia Bell.
As part of the activations, Pride Cup Australia are hosting an education session for players, coaches and officials on how to make footy clubs more inclusive.
The event is being held at Kedron AFC and is open to anyone. The session is also being live streamed.
Pride Cup Australia Liaison Manager, Kara Montoneri, said the LGBTIQ+ inclusion education sessions were an integral part of hosting a Pride Cup.
“The rainbow themed events are an amazing way to show the wider LGBTIQ+ community that their local club is a welcoming place to play and to visit, however there is more work to be done to stamp out harmful homophobic and transphobic behaviours inside sporting clubs,” she said.
“We run these sessions to promote understanding of the barriers faced by the LGBTIQ+ community in sport, and to promote empathy and allyship amongst the players both on and off the field.”
Sponsors of this year’s Pride Round, EXIMM CEO, Vicki Tod, said the EXIMM team were proud to be on board.
“We are extremely proud to put a spotlight on diversity through our partnership with the AFL and Pride Round,” she said.
“We are really looking forward to building a lasting legacy with this great sporting code.”
For those unable to make it to watch games live, the QAFLW will be live streamed. More details can be found at aflq.com.au/pride