Australian Pride in Sport awards highest honour to Melbourne University Sport

Image of rainbow Pride flag along side University of Melbourne banner.
MU Sport launched several initiatives over the last year to improve LGBTQIA+ inclusivity. Image: supplied

Melbourne University Sport (MU Sport) has been awarded the highest honour for LGBTQIA+ initiatives in Australian sport at the 2020 Australian Pride in Sport Awards.

The award is based on the results of Aids Council of New South Wales’s (ACON) Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Sports Commission.

It is assessed using independent benchmarking which reviews LGBTQIA+ inclusion practices within Australian sporting organisations.

MU Sport achieved a gold tier PSI result this year, up from silver in 2019 when they shared the highest honour with Tennis Australia. The improvement in overall ranking has also seen MU Sport awarded the Most Improved Sporting Organisation Award.

Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell congratulated everyone in the University’s sporting community whose efforts contributed to the awards and said the honour was a well-deserved recognition for MU Sport and all it does to make LGBTQIA+ people feel welcome and included.

“Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of the University of Melbourne’s culture. Everyone is welcome here regardless of sexuality or identity. These principles are embedded throughout the University, including at MU Sport which has set a benchmark for the second consecutive year,” Professor Maskell said.

MU Sport launched several initiatives over the last year that proved a catalyst in the improvement. This included:

  • The MU Sport Board endorsed the LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Policy and Companion Guide
  • A Pledge of Pride evening saw 30 sporting clubs in attendance to sign a pledge of respect and diversity within their clubs and to create a culture of inclusivity
  • Launch of a Pride in Sport video
  • Club organised Pride Rounds, and celebrations of days of significance in the LGBTQIA+ community.

MU Sport Director Tim Lee acknowledged and expressed gratitude to the University of Melbourne sporting community including the University’s sports clubs, Board and key partners like Beau Newell, ACON and Pride in Sport.

“We should not underestimate the importance of the work that goes into providing a safe place for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ to participate in sport.”

In further acknowledgment of MU Sport diversity initiatives, the Melbourne University Water Polo Club was nominated for the LGBTQIA+ Community Sport Award and MU Sport Diversity Coordinator Chris Bunting was nominated for the LGBTQIA+ Out Role Model of the Year Award.

  • About ACON - ACON is Australia’s largest sexuality and gender diverse community health organisation, with the Pride in Sport program providing a range of services to employers, sporting organisations and service providers with support in all aspects of LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Member organisations include the Australia Football League (AFL), Football Australia, RMIT University Sport, Tennis Australia, and UniSport Australia among others.
  • About Pride in Sport - Pride in Sport is a national not-for-profit program that assists sporting organisations and clubs with the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ employees, players, volunteers and spectators. It is part of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, which provides a range of services to employers, sporting organisations and service providers with support in all aspects of LGBTQIA+ inclusion. All funds generated through membership and ticketed events go back into the work of Pride in Sport, actively working alongside sporting organisations, clubs and participants to make Australian sport inclusive of LGBTQIA+ communities.