OVER the past round, the AFLW community celebrated Pride Round. I was lucky enough to capture some of our team preparations and celebrations throughout the week leading up to our game against St Kilda.
Personally, Pride Round is both an acknowledgement and a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community – a community much greater than just AFLW.
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As a player myself, I sometimes forget the impact that we have on others, and our supporters. I think it is so important that we continue to use the platform that we have to educate, and to celebrate things like Pride Round, and also Indigenous Round which will take place in round five.
North Melbourne’s theme for Pride Round was to ‘Express Your Why’.
Through our transition of coaches during the off-season, our new coach Darren Crocker had a lot of learning to do, and his most important question to ask each of us was, ‘Why do [we] play footy?’.
It reminded us as a team that everyone comes from different places, perspectives and situations.
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I am in awe of teammates such as Britt Gibson who goes straight to the docks after training for a nightshift, returning in the morning to see her son Henry, whilst her wife, Jaime, leaves for her own job.
Tahni Nestor, Beth Lynch and Grace Campbell all work as nurses, and we also have police officers, teachers and more amongst the group.
Every player in the League has a work life outside of football, and that’s because we have to – but there is always a reason as to why we keep coming back to the sport we love – and that’s because we love it and the community which surrounds it.
One such community is the LGBTQIA+ community, who are a part of our history and who support us greatly. It is through initiatives such as Pride Round, that we hope we are showing them as much support as they show us.
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I asked two of my teammates in Emma Kearney and Ellie Gavalas what Pride Round meant to them:
Emma: "It’s a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made for LGBTIQA+ people, but also to recognise that there’s a lot more work to be done. It’s to celebrate our queer mates, family members, teammates and show support to those who may not feel comfortable to be who they truly are."
Ellie: "To me, the Pride Round is a celebration. It is honouring and accepting the LGBQTIA+ community and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it. There’s still progress to be made, and the Pride Round is a great way to spark conversation and celebrate the diversity in the AFLW and community."
The photos throughout this piece, I have taken on a film camera. I tried to capture photos that show our contribution to Pride Round. I love capturing all moments of life, but especially these moments.
I am proud to be a part of a community like AFLW, which continues to spread positive messages, and acknowledges topics that some might call taboo.
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