Pride Cup look back on 8 years of inclusion with research report

This Saturday 8th May, Pride Cup and VicHealth are celebrating eight years of the Yarra Valley Pride Cup, a catalyst for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in Australian sport.

The Yarra Valley Pride Cup was founded in 2013, after player and future Young Victorian of the Year Jason Ball came out as gay to his team. What began as a rainbow 50m line as a gesture of inclusion has expanded to a national movement connecting local sporting communities.

Since that first Pride Cup in 2013, Pride Cup has now supported over 215 community sporting clubs around Australia in hosting their own Pride themed event celebrating the LGBTI+ community, encompassing over 15,000 players.

The movement continues to spread; Pride Cup has grown from a single game of Australian rules football in regional Victoria, to now blanketing a wide range of sporting codes including tennis, water polo, hockey, roller derby, cricket, softball and most recently into rugby league and lawn bowls.

“Pride Cup is not just about celebrating Pride out on the sporting field, we work closely with clubs to provide education and tools to tackling the barriers that LGBTI+ people face when it comes to participating in community sport. Sports clubs are looking for ways to ensure they are a safe and welcoming place for everyone, and that’s where we do our best work”, said CEO of Pride Cup, James Lolicato.

During the formal luncheon at the Yarra Valley event, Pride Cup and VicHealth are officially launching the VicHealth commissioned Monash University research project, examining the impact that Pride Cup has on community sporting clubs.

The paper ’Evaluating LGBTI+ Inclusion within Sport and the Pride Cup Initiative’ examines clubs who have worked alongside the Pride Cup initiative and similar clubs who had not.

Results from the research include findings that:

  • 11% of males from Pride Cup clubs reported that their coach had used homophobic language in the past two weeks, compared to over 30% of non-Pride Cup clubs
  • 38% of Pride Cup players witnessed their teammates use homophobic language in the past two weeks, compared to 73% at non-Pride Cup clubs
  • Pride Cups were shown to significantly increase the clubs’ opportunities to make connections with the local LGBTI+ community
  • Pride Cup clubs consistently received larger spectator attendance, greater community support and improved relationships with funders and local councils

The findings of this research show that Pride Cups are the main and one of the most successful Australian initiative seeking to promote LGBTI+ inclusion in sport.

Following the presentation, a panel discussion featuring Pride Cup organisers and researchers will delve into the prospect of how do we continue to develop programs and our work to change the discriminatory language usage to 0%.

Holly Ransom, Chair of Pride Cup, stated, “Pride Cup is committed to constantly evaluating and evolving the way in which we work with clubs, and we will continue to utilise an evidence informed approach to ensure we make the greatest possible impact as we expand our reach to over 500 clubs in the next 5 years.”

VicHealth CEO Sandro Demaio said sports clubs were at the heart of their community, having a huge impact on making LGBTI+ players and fans feel included.

“VicHealth is proud of its four-year history with Pride Cup, which has helped so many sports clubs become more inclusive and welcoming of LGBTI+ players across Victoria. Our research shows Pride Cup is making a difference, with players and coaches in clubs that have hosted a Pride Cup much less likely to use homophobic language than clubs who haven’t got involved with the initiative.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome when participating in sport, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. We must stamp out harmful homophobic behaviour by continuing to educate and create empathy on and off the field,” Dr Demaio said.

Dr Ruth Jeanes and Erik Denison of Monash University will be presenting the findings of the Pride Cup evaluation, and an expert panel hosted by Jason Ball (Founder of Pride Cup) will speak to the topic ‘Next steps for LGBTI+ Inclusion in Sport’.

This report is one that Pride Cup is proud to present at the 2021 Yarra Valley to show the positive impacts that Pride Cups can make, but also to show that work still needs to be done to breakdown stereotypes and discriminatory language usage in sports.

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