The rainbow flag will be out in force around the country this weekend as NAB AFLW celebrates the competition’s annual Pride Round.
Held from November 3-5, Round 10 marks the fourth occasion the competition will hold a round dedicated to celebrating and supporting diversity and inclusion of LGBTQI+ communities in our great game, as well as acknowledging their contributions to the strength and growing success of the league.
The dedicated round also serves as an engagement opportunity that contributes to the AFL’s journey to becoming a more inclusive sport.
Working with national not-for-profit sporting inclusion organisation, Pride in Sport, the AFL is striving to learn and engage in genuine and meaningful conversations with Pride and LGBTQI+ communities to ensure the game continues to build partnerships and grow in this space.
For the first time ever, a rainbow will feature on the iconic Sherrin for the dedicated round, while all 18 AFLW clubs will wear specially designed Pride guernseys, all AFL field and boundary umpires will wear rainbow-coloured sweatbands and goal umpires will swap their traditional white flags for the Pride flag.
Ground signage will also be updated to celebrate the round with the NAB logo adopting a rainbow theme, while the 50-metre arcs will be painted rainbow for the occasion.
AFL Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy, Tanya Hosch said Pride Round was one of the most important rounds on the AFLW calendar.
“The AFL is proud of its commitment to build, celebrate and strengthen inclusion and diversity in our game.
“We know we are on an ongoing journey to being more inclusive, and we know it contributes to making our game stronger. We are continuing to build our capability and understanding of what it means to be a sport for all,” she said.
“We also acknowledge the leadership of players in sharing their personal stories throughout the journey, and the engagement of AFLW clubs in building relationships with LGBTQI+ community groups such as Pride in Sport, Pride Cup, Minus18 and Stand up Events to determine their own focus areas.
“Research suggests that an alarming 80 per cent of participants in Australian sport have witnessed or experienced homophobia. As a sport, we need to do our part to change this. We want everyone in and around our game to join us in celebrating LGBTQI+ diversity this weekend.
Pride in Sport National Program Manager Beau Newell said AFLW Pride Round is an incredible opportunity to unite communities, inspire individuals and foster a sense of belonging.
"We commend the AFLW for enhancing their commitment to LGBTQI+ inclusion. While there is always more that can be done across all sports, through their partnership with Pride in Sport, the AFL continues to demonstrate positive steps in creating a more inclusive sporting environment that celebrates diversity and welcomes everyone.
“Holding AFLW Pride Round is a powerful message to Australia that everyone is welcome, fans and athletes alike, just as they are,” Newell said.
This year, the AFL will also donate the AFL’s portion of Pride Round merchandise royalties to LGBTQI+ led organisations Minus18, an advocacy charity improving the lives of LGBTQI+ youth, and HERE, a national suicide prevention hub connecting the LGBTQI+ community, their loved ones and service providers to care, support and resources.
Round 10 will see a number of blockbuster games played across the country this weekend, including a match at Great Barrier Reef Arena between Gold Coast SUNS and Essendon and a top four clash at Brighton Homes Arena when Brisbane Lions and Melbourne take to the turf.
AFL General Manager Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said Pride Round was a fantastic way to celebrate the end the 2023 NAB AFLW home-and-away season.
“Women’s football has been breaking barriers for many years and we’re proud to be continually building on the work of the many trailblazers in our game. This weekend’s matches will be a celebration for all, and we encourage fans to embrace the festivities and head down to their local match.”
“The 2023 NAB AFLW season has been fantastic both and off the field. The race to the finals is well and truly heating up with a number of games this weekend set to determine the final ladder positions and fixturing for the highly-anticipated NAB AFLW Finals Series.”
NAB Group Executive of Personal Banking Rachel Slade said NAB takes great pride in their unwavering support for the LGBTQI+ community and the beloved game of AFLW.
“While we’re making progress on inclusion, it’s important we maintain this momentum. I strongly encourage everyone to show their allyship and get behind NAB AFLW Pride Round this weekend.”
Pride Round is one of two dedicated rounds celebrated across the 2023 NAB AFLW competition, alongside AFLW Indigenous Round which was held in Rounds 7 and 8.
Tickets to NAB AFLW matches are $10 for adults and FREE for kids under 18. Visit womens.afl/tickets or catch all the football action on the Seven Network, 7Plus, Foxtel, Kayo and the Official AFLW App.
 Denison E, Kitchen A. (2015). Out on the Fields: The first international study on homophobia in sport. Nielsen, Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, Australian Sports Commission, Federation of Gay Games. Accessed through: www.outonthefields.com