St Kilda will proudly wear its 2022 Pride Guernsey this weekend against Melbourne as part of this year’s AFLW Pride Round.

The guernsey celebrates the journey of diversity and community and was designed following extensive consultation with the LGBTQIA+ community and key club stakeholders, including members of the Saints’ AFLW leadership group.

St Kilda’s AFL side debuted the guernsey ahead of the 2021 Pride Game, with design set to continually evolve as more sporting organisations - whose names are printed on the guernsey - host Pride Cup events. Nationwide, over 275 clubs have taken part in local Pride fixtures.

“It’s a privilege to wear our Pride Guernsey this weekend,” Head of AFLW Tessie McManus said.

“Being proud in who you are, providing visibility to others and promoting acceptance is something that is particularly close to the hearts of our playing group, and I know that sentiment will carry well into Saturday’s match.

“Pride Round is a significant week not only for St Kilda and the AFLW, but the wider LGBTQI+ community. We’re immensely proud to play our part and show that our game is for everyone, no matter who you are.”

The front of the guernsey features the modern-day Pride flag, which includes colours to represent the trans, Indigenous and persons of colour communities, as well as the traditional rainbow. This element is key to demonstrating the intersectionality of the LGBTQIA+ community and other minority communities and the importance of them in the St Kilda family.

The rainbow continues onto the back of the guernsey, with the colours branching upward to illustrate the club’s continual growth and room for further progression. Within the individual colours, names of organisations which have hosted Pride Cup events are featured, starting with the first one in Yarra Glen in 2014.

Since starting with Australian Rules Football, Pride Cup events have now taken place in several sporting codes right across the country.

Introducing the Saints' Pride Guernsey for 2022. Photo: Corey Scicluna.

Co-vice-captain Kate Shierlaw spoke to the importance of Pride Round in the lead-up to Saturday’s match.

“You can’t be what you can’t see. I know coming into the AFLW and VFLW I was surrounded by role models and people who were comfortable being themselves,” Shierlaw said.

“It doesn’t matter where you sit in terms of your sexuality, your religion, your race, or whatever it is. The AFLW leads that space and I’m really proud to be part of that environment.”