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Tackling homophobia through hockey

Copyrights: Tania Chalmers Photography: @taniaCphoto

Tackling homophobia through hockey

The Ice Hockey Pride Match doubled the energy of the high-intensity sport by channelling messages of LGBTQ pride and equality.

On Saturday, 22 July the Melbourne Mustangs partnered with Amnesty International, Proud 2 Play and Team Melbourne to promote inclusion in sport.

As a symbol of support, players donned rainbow jerseys during the match. Other gestures included information booths for organisations promoting equality in sport, rainbow flags for supporters and gender-neutral toilets.  

A 2015 study by Out on the Fields found that 80% of lesbian, gay and bisexual participants had experienced or witnessed homophobia in sport. The same study reported that the most common form of homophobia witnessed is in language use. This was therefore a focus of the Pride Match, as Anouska Teunen of Amnesty International explained in an interview with Joy:

In my experience and in the experience of a lot of people that I’ve spoken to from the LGBTIQ community, a lot of the fear or the feeling of inaccessibly to those sports is because of the use of language.

Programmes distributed at the game expanded on this topic and included a list of organisations to contact for more information. Raising awareness was not the only goal, as Teunen explains:

One of the main reasons why we need to have this match is so that young people know that they will be accepted.

Above all the Pride Match aimed to unify supporters and players to move toward a cultural change in elite sport. This push for equality is catching on, as two other Australian National Division 1 teams have hosted similar Pride Matches as a result of the Mustangs’ game. 

You can show your support on social media with the hashtag #PuckHomophobia.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 12:53