Two coaches who work with the LGBTI-inclusive water polo team the Brisbane Tritons have had their efforts recognised at the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards.
Tritons coach Mel Rippon and Brisbane Barracudas coach Damien Hicks (pictured) received the Inclusive Coach awards at the inaugural awards ceremony, held in Sydney on May 19 by LGBTI health organisation ACON’s national not-for-profit program, Pride in Diversity.
“We are so proud of Mel and Damien and are so lucky to have them as allies not only for us but as champions of equality,” Tritons President Jeremy Archer said.
“The Brisbane Tritons wouldn’t be here without the work both of them have put into our club.”
The Water Polo Pride Cup, first held in Victoria in 2016 during the National Water Polo League, also won the Inclusive Sports Initiative award. The Tritons and local team the Brisbane Barracudas were proud to host the cup when it was held in Fortitude Valley earlier this year.
Water Polo Australia CEO Christian Renford said the organisation was delighted to win and he congratulated all of the sports who’d demonstrated support for diversity and inclusion in sport in the past year.
“There is still much work ahead toward ending homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and discrimination in sport, but together we can change that,” he said.
ACON’s Pride in Diversity program supports employers in LGBTI inclusion in the workplace, and the Pride in Sport program assists state and national sporting organisations with the inclusion of LGBTI employees, players, coaches, volunteers and spectators.
Among the other sporting award recipients were the Yarra Glen Football Club’s Jason Ball, the first Australian rules player at any level to come out as gay in 2012. He won the Out Role Model in Sport award.
The AFL was named Pride in Sport Index Organisation of the Year, and longtime LGBTI rights supporter David Pocock, vice-captain of ACT Super Rugby club The Brumbies, was honoured with the LGBTI Ally award.