The Melbourne Chargers, Melbourne’s gay and inclusive rugby team, kicks off its season this Saturday at Orrong Romanis Reserve. Making their opening game particularly special is that it coincides with Pride in Sports ‘Rainbow Round’, which aims to help raise awareness for LGBTI athletes at all levels.
The Chargers and the Melbourne Unicorns, the Chargers host club, will be wholeheartedly supporting the event with over 15 other teams participating. The Rainbow Round aims to ‘give homophobia the boot’, and rugby is proud to be leading the charge. As a sign of support all teams competing in the round will be wearing rainbow laces.
Dan Syrus, Melbourne Chargers President, said the Rainbow Round is not a token gesture. “Rainbow Round sends a strong message that homophobia, transphobia, and any intolerance or disrespect of another person is not accepted in rugby.”
“All players and supporters are welcome to play hard, have fun and be part of the global rugby family without any barriers,” Syrus added.
Out on the Fields, a survey of more than 9,500 sporting players in 2014 outlined over 80 percent of Australian participants have witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport. At least 50 percent of gay men have been personally targeted by homophobia while playing sport.
“These statistics need to reduce to zero and the Melbourne Chargers and Melbourne Unicorns are proud to work to this end,” Syrus said.
The Melbourne Chargers have had a great start to the year, with an intake of over 35 new players joining their ranks. Over 90 percent of these players identify as gay, swelling its total playing ranks to over 80 players, and many more supporters.
Rainbow Round not only starts the season for the Chargers, but also starts the countdown to the 2016 Bingham Cup tournament held in Nashville, USA where the Chargers will compete for the coveted prize.
The last Bingham Cup tournament, held in Sydney in 2014, saw the Chargers win the second tier of the competition. This year, the Chargers will be aiming to bring home the Cup to Melbourne. With over 50 players heading across to the US, 2016 will be the biggest season yet for the club.
For more information about the Melbourne Chargers Rugby team visit: melbournechargers.com.au
Pride in Diversity has been commissioned to develop the Pride in Sport Index (PSI), a world-first LGBTI inclusivity index for sport. The PSI is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Sport Commission, and is a legacy of the Bingham Cup, Sydney.
The PSI will benchmark National and State sporting organisations. It was developed following ‘Out on the Fields,’ the largest international study examining homophobia in sport. The PSI will determine the current state of play, areas to be addressed and set national and state benchmarks by which sporting organisations can assess the impact of their inclusion initiatives year-on-year.
Find out more about the Pride in Sport Index