Paralympics Australia, the peak body for Para-sport in Australia, has become the newest member of the Australian Pride in Sport program, committing to further develop and enhance LGBTQ inclusion.

ACON Health’s Pride in Sport program is the only sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist sporting organisations with the inclusion of employees, athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators with diverse genders and sexualities.

Being a Pride in Sport member means changing practices and working towards a more inclusive, safe and healthy sporting environment for people with diverse sexualities and genders.

Jock O’Callaghan, President of Paralympics Australia, is excited about the opportunity that Pride in Sport will play when helping promote positive messages and examples around LGBTQ inclusion for Australia’s Paralympians, Para-athletes and Para-sports.

“At Paralympics Australia, we strongly believe in equality of opportunity for all, not just for some.

“The Paralympic movement has always promoted inclusion by challenging attitudes and breaking down barriers.

“For this reason, I believe Paralympics Australia will bring great value to our new partnership with Pride in Sport and our shared pursuit for greater inclusivity not just in sport, but in society generally.”

Data from the Out on the Fields study showed that 80% of people have either witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport, with 75% believing that an openly gay person would not be safe as a spectator at a sporting event. Even more alarming is the data from the National LGBTI Health Alliance showing that LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely to attempt suicide compared to the general population, with transgender people aged 18 and over nearly eleven times more likely.

Beau Newell, National Program Manager of Pride in Sport Australia, said actual and perceived social exclusion is a leading cause of preventable death in Australia, and creating a much healthier and safer sporting culture for LGBTQ people has never been more important.

“By joining Pride in Sport and working with ACON, Paralympics Australia is showing the community that they care about the health and wellbeing of their athletes, members, and Para-sports across the country,” Newell said.

“Congratulations to Paralympics Australia for helping to lead the way in changing Australia’s sporting culture, to be more inclusive.”

Pride in Sport is Australia’s first and only sexuality and gender diverse sporting inclusion program for the Australian sporting sector.

Posted: 28 August 2020