Pride Cup launches into bigger, better second year

Traralgon Tyers United and Glengarry netballers and footballers Jess Drava, Billy Morrison, Kerrie O'Bryan and Hayden Britten show off the rainbow strips for the 2018 Pride Cup. photograph hayley mills
Traralgon Tyers United and Glengarry netballers and footballers Jess Drava, Billy Morrison, Kerrie O'Bryan and Hayden Britten show off the rainbow strips for the 2018 Pride Cup. photograph hayley mills

The second annual Gippsland Pride Cup was launched this week and North Gippsland Football Netball League president David Kyle said the 2018 event would be "bigger and better" than last year.

Traralgon Tyers United and Glengarry will once again replace their traditional strips with rainbow ones for the round 10 Pride Cup fixture to help promote and foster the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in sporting clubs and the broader community.

Kyle labelled the inaugural Pride Cup an important step for sport in the region and hoped this year's edition would be just as successful.

"There were some challenges for us as a league in being able to bring together [the Pride Cup] in such a short time frame and be able to deliver what I think was such a successful day," Kyle said.

"There were certainly some learnings from that and we will try and take those into this year.

"For me, one of the greatest learnings was that what this game and round signifies for us is that it creates the pathway for us to start discussions on both diversity and inclusion."

Kyle said the NGFNL was "wholeheartedly committed" to continuing to drive home the importance of inclusion.

"My own personal view is very much this: I've been around cricket and footy most of my life and there's nothing in the rules of our game that says the length of your hair, the colour of your skin or your nationality or sexuality should stop you from playing the games that we love in football and netball," he said.

"If we can have more discussions around that and more education around that space then everyone in football and netball circles, not only in Gippsland but generically in the codes we love, will benefit from that."

AGL Loy Yang, Latrobe Regional Hospital and Latrobe City have once again thrown their support behind the initiative which received funding from Gippsland Primary Health Network and the Federal Department of Health.

AFL Gippsland, Netball Victoria and GippSport are also playing key roles in the event.

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets was at the launch and said the organisation was proud to support the event.

"We know how important it is for leaderships in the football clubs and community to support diversity and inclusion in the community," Rieniets said.

"It's exciting to be a part of this and it's about people being their true selves at football clubs particularly.

"We know events like this can change people's lives and make them feel like they belong."

In addition to the Pride Cup, the first Proud To Be Community Forum will be held next week with a number of special guest speakers including Pride Cup founder Jason Ball, champion swimmer Daniel Kowalski and transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey in attendance for the educational session.

Latrobe Regional Hospital executive director mental health and AFL Gippsland commissioner Cayte Hoppner said the forum was an important part of promoting inclusion and diversity.

"We want to build on the work we did with the clubs last year with both Glengarry and TTU and take that message out to a broader community," Hoppner said.

"As a health service provider, people in that community are at risk of poorer mental health, physical health and suicide.

"It's not just about netball and footy, but also about equality, diversity and inclusion in sport in general."

The Proud to Be Community Forum will be held on Wednesday, June 13 and those interested in attending are required to register by Friday, June 8 by visiting lrh.com.au and following the link on the home page.

The Gippsland Pride Cup will be on Sunday, June 17 at Tyers Recreation Reserve.

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