In a show of unity and support for LGBTQI+ participants in the football family and beyond, members of Football Australia will march in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) this Saturday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Keeping with the 2022 SGLMG theme, United We Shine, members of the Football Australia Board, Executive Leadership Team, current and former national team players and front office staff will take part in the march.
United We Shine is a rallying call to stand up against hate and inequality and unite as a collective to project a message of acceptance.
Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, said that it is a reminder that with its 2 million participants, football has an opportunity to play an important role in creating a more equitable society.
“We always speak to the diversity of football and the importance of creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all in our sport,” said Johnson. “This is our opportunity to put our words into action and walk alongside and stand proudly with members and allies of our LGBTQI+ football family.”
"We are passionate about supporting LGBTQI+ participants in the football family and beyond. We hope that this reinforces the message that football is a game for all and that we as the governing body will not accept discriminatory behaviour in football."
The thirteen A-Leagues clubs will also be represented, with APL Commissioner and members of staff joining Football Australia in the march.
APL Commissioner, Greg O’Rourke, said:
“Football is everybody’s game and has long provided a safe space for many members of the LGBTQI+ community. To see all the A-Leagues clubs represented at the SGLMG is an important moment of celebration, but it is our job to ensure that our game is truly inclusive at every level, in every community.”
Professional Footballers Australia co-Chief Executive Kate Gill said:
“The SGLMG s is one of the biggest events on the LGBTI+ calendar globally and for football to be involved on Saturday demonstrates our commitment to building a sport that is inclusive of all communities.”
Football Australia’s Head of Inclusion, Sarah Walsh, recognised the importance of football’s leadership utilising the popularity of the game to drive positive change.
“By marching together, we are demonstrating that it is not only up to members of the LGBTQI+ community to address the causes and consequences of homophobia and prejudice; members of our football community all have this responsibility and can each play a part in leading the change,” said Walsh.
“We know that as a sport there is a need to continually evolve our inclusion policies and practices. We are committed to creating greater awareness and understanding of the key issues affecting the LGBTQI+ community through increased education and training across the game.”
In 2021, Football Australia updated its Member Protection Framework providing resources and reporting mechanisms to football participants. More information on the Member Protection Framework is available here and football participants can report any homophobic or discriminatory abuse here.
For the second year in a row, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground where Football Australia will join over 6500 marchers across 160+ floats in a showcase of the full breadth of the rainbow family and allies.