The AFL has announced the first Women’s AFL Pride Match will be held later this month.
The Western Bulldogs and the Carlton Blues will face off during their round four clash at Whitten Oval at Victoria University in Footscray on February 23.
The game was announced on Wednesday at nearby pub Pride of our Footscray.
Players will wear specially-designed guernseys during the match.
“As a club, there had been a number of internal conversations that have been taking place over the last 12 months since the competition has started, around how the club can play a more proactive role in promoting gender diversity and supporting the LGTBQI community,” Western Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains said.
“There’s been some great support in the men’s competition for this concept, but to be able to do it in the AFL Women’s and celebrating a lot more than what you see on the surface is fantastic.”
Carlton CEO Cain Liddle said the club was also very excited to be involved.
“These ideas require a club or individual to really stand up and make the first move. We feel very privileged and honoured the Bulldogs contacted us about this concept,” he said.
“Our core purpose as a football club is about making people feel like they belong, so elements around equality and inclusion and acceptance are critical to our purpose, and the reality is we can now live that out in what we do every day, which is a football match.”
Carlton skipper Brianna Davey said it would be exciting to share a such a match with her partner, Blues’ midfielder Tilly Lucas-Rodd.
“Running out with your teammates is obviously always fantastic and something you wait for every weekend, but to do that with someone you love, that’s something not many people get to experience.”
Western Bulldogs defender Hannah Scott, who is also openly gay, said she was overwhelmed to see a potential design of the pride guernseys.
“I just felt like I belonged at the Western Bulldogs. It’s just such a great opportunity to educate and just keep bringing to light everything that goes on,” she said.
“We had a massive breakthrough with marriage equality, but we can’t stop there, we have to keep pushing. There’s just so much people don’t know. We’re in the public eye, what better thing to do than help young people come out and be proud of who they are.”
— WesternBulldogs AFLW (@BulldogsW) February 6, 2018
Last year, more than 30,000 people packed the SCG for the AFL’s second Pride Game between the Sydney Swans and St Kilda Saints, after the success of the inaugural match.
But the AFL drew criticism last year for the decision to ban transgender player Hannah Mouncey from the AFL Women’s draft.
The league said at the time it was developing new guidelines for the inclusion of trans and gender-diverse players in the sport.
(Photo by Western Bulldogs/Instagram)