The AFL’s leading names have once again joined forces to tackle homophobia and promote inclusion in the lead up to IDAHOT – the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Tuesday May 17.
IDAHOT commemorates the day homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1990.
A trailer of a video coordinated by the AFL Players’ Association was launched during Network Seven’s coverage of the match between Richmond and Sydney in Round 8. It showcased AFL players from across Australia calling on fans to never use homophobic language and to stand up to those who do, with an emphasis on fostering a culture of inclusion.
In the full video campaign features other prominent figures from the AFL community, including AFL Players’ Association Board members Leigh Montagna, Drew Petrie, Chris Dawes and CEO Paul Marsh, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, Geelong senior coach Chris Scott and Aasta O’Connor from the Western Bulldogs, calling on all fans to #influencechange by liking and sharing the #FOOTY4IDAHOT video campaign across social media.
Montagna said he was proud that the industry took a stand on such an important issue.
“Everyone has a right to be treated equally and we want to make sure people think before they speak.”
– Leigh Montagna
“It’s simply about basic human rights. Everyone has a right to be treated equally and we want to make sure people think before they speak and understand it’s not just about avoiding using homophobic language ourselves, but also standing up to those who do,” Montagna said.
“Footy is for everyone, and it’s really important that people involved in the game, from a grassroots level up to the elite level, never lose sight of the fact that vilification of any kind, whether it be based on sexual identity, gender, race, religion or disability, is simply unacceptable.”
Marsh agreed, saying the PA encouraged players to take a leadership role on social issues about which they felt strongly.
“The AFLPA has been supporting IDAHOT since 2009 and every year we have strong interest from players wanting to be involved,” Marsh said. “We’re really proud of the playing group for getting behind a social leadership campaign that can hopefully have lasting impact not just across the sporting landscape but across society as well.”
McLachlan said: “The AFL is again proud to support the AFLPA and the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) community to promote social inclusion and to fight homophobia.
“In Round 21 the AFL will help play a role in the wider community towards greater diversity when the first AFL Pride Match between St Kilda v Sydney Swans is played.”
In support of IDAHOT, Essendon Football Club, along with the Purple Bombers and the Blue Roos also launched its Stand Up for Equality campaign, to raise awareness and show support for the LGBTIQ community during the Round 8 game against North Melbourne. The campaign also aims to promote social inclusion and provide a safe environment for all supporters regardless of race, religion or gender.
The AFLPA is also supporting Stand Up Events – a not-for-profit organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community throughout Victoria, with a focus on raising awareness for sexual and gender equality and challenging hetero-normative thinking and behaviour in our society and our sporting culture.
Stand Up Events will be hosting its Move in May fun run on Sunday 22 May at The Tan Running Track.
IDAHOT was created in 2004 to raise awareness of the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) people internationally.