SOUTH WEST Sport has teamed up with VicHealth and Proud 2 Play to increase inclusion of LGBTI+ people and tackle discrimination and vilification in community sport.
The joint initiative will support Victorian sports clubs in stamping out homophobic and transphobic language and behaviour on and off the field.
It also seeks to create supportive club cultures so LGBTI+ players, volunteers and fans feel safe and comfortable to be themselves.
Foundations of LGBTI+ inclusion in community sport aims to increase awareness and knowledge about LGBTI+ inclusion in clubs through a series of online education modules.
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South West Sport CEO Michael Neoh said more needs to be done at a community sport level to encourage inclusion.
"Sporting clubs act as social and physical activity hubs within our communities. However in some instances, not everyone shares the same experience while participating in sport and active recreation activities," he said.
"South West Sport is excited to be collaborating with VicHealth and Proud 2 Play on an initiative that provides volunteers and members the tools and insights to create safer spaces for all."
VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs Kirstan Corben said clubs will play a key role in supporting people to reconnect with their community following the coronavirus so it's critical everyone feels welcome.
"We want all Victorians to feel they belong at a sports club regardless of their gender or sexual identity - who you are and who you love shouldn't stop you from playing the sport you love," she said.
"It's unacceptable that 40 per cent of LGBTI+ Australians have felt unsafe or vulnerable in a sporting environment. Homophobic sledges and excluding someone because of their sexuality should never be part of sport in Victoria.
"We know grassroots sports clubs want to be places where everyone feels they belong. This initiative is about giving them the tools they need to ensure LGBTI+ players, fans, officials and volunteers feel part of the team."
Proud 2 Play CEO Christine Granger said community sports clubs play a vital role in bringing our communities together and creating a sense of connection for members.
"However, many members of the LGBTI+ community do not feel that sport is a safe and welcoming space for them," she explained.
"Inclusive environments play a key role in addressing these feelings and this initiative aims to provide community clubs with some of the tools they need create safe and welcoming environments."
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