Softball Australia has become the newest member of the Australian Pride in Sport program, committing to further develop and enhance the inclusion of LGBTQ people across the Australian softball community.
This announcement comes after Pride in Sport received a generous donation from ANZ and the Sydney Mardi Gras small grants fund.
This grant will assist in building the capacity of Softball Australia through a twelve month consultation partnership, dedicated LGBTQ Mental Health Awareness Training, development of sport specific LGBTQ resources, social media campaign, and visibility items for the sport to utilise in showing their allyship to the LGBTQ community.
ACON Health’s Pride in Sport program is the only sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist sporting organisations at all levels with the inclusion of employees, athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators with diverse genders and sexualities. Being a Pride in Sport member means working towards a more inclusive, safe and healthy sporting environment.
“Softball Australia is pleased to partner with Pride in Sport,” said Softball Australia Chief Executive Officer, David Pryles.
“Softball Australia is committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming and safe sporting environment for our communities.
“Softball prides itself on being a sport that is open and accessible to everyone in the community and Softball Australia is firmly committed to the values of inclusion and diversity.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to work alongside the team at Pride in Sport and look forward to the journey ahead.”
Data from the Out on the Fields study showed that 80% of people have either witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport, with 75% believing that an openly gay person would not be safe as a spectator at a sporting event. Even more alarming is the data from the National LGBTI Health Alliance showing that LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely to attempt suicide compared to the general population, with transgender people aged 18 and over nearly eleven times more likely.
Beau Newell, National Program Manager of Pride in Sport Australia, said actual and perceived social exclusion is a leading cause of preventable death in Australia, and creating a much healthier and safer sporting culture for LGBTQ people has never been more important.
“By joining Pride in Sport and working with ACON, Softball Australia is showing the community that they care about the health and wellbeing of their athletes, members, and wider community,” Newell said.
“Congratulations to Softball Australia for leading the way in changing Australia’s sporting culture, to be more inclusive.”
Pride in Sport is Australia’s first and only sexuality and gender diverse sporting inclusion program for the Australian sporting sector.