In the lead up to the Pride Game on Saturday 13 August, St Kilda Football Club is sharing stories of a few inspiring individuals that support the Round 21 clash.
Sydney Swans supporter Emma Partridge is proud to see her team take on St Kilda in the name of pride.
“I think it’s a great message from the two clubs involved and from the league to say that we want to build a different kind of football culture, we want to make it welcoming for all, and that we want that culture to be one that’s based on respect and equality that we can all be proud of,” Partridge told Saints.com.au.
Working for Our Watch – an organisation established to drive change across the nation in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children – Partridge admits to having a complicated relationship with football.
“I love it, I love the game I don’t think you’ll find a more exciting game to watch,” she said.
“I also am uncomfortable with some of the sexism and racism that sometimes you see in football and the homophobia that you can experience in the crowd.”
Homophobia is a shared experience for many queer spectators with a recent study showing that 82% of LGB survey participants have witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport.*
Having found her sense of belonging within the queer community, Partridge hopes that the Pride Game provides the opportunity for people to share that sense of belonging across the queer and football communities.
“Everybody needs to find their people, they need to find their crew, for me that’s definitely the queer community, and the sense of belonging is what I get in that community.
“A lot of people also find that sense of belonging in football, the Pride Game is very much about saying those two things are not contradictions, that people should be able to feel that sense of belonging in both of those communities.”
*Statistics taken from ‘Out on the fields’ - the first international, and the largest study conducted into the experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) people in team sporting environments - http://www.outonthefields.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Out-on-the-Fields-Final-Report.pdf