Change the Game
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Working Together to End Discrimination and Make Sport Safe, Welcoming and Inclusive for LGBTI People

Change the Game Sydney

Change the Game was formed in 2016 by participants at a national homophobia in sport conference hosted by Team Sydney (pic shown). 

We are a national network of people and organisations actively working to 'Change the Game' in Australia for LGBTI people. We have a steering committee representing amateur and professional athletes from the five major Australian professional sports. In 2014, these sports signed formal commitments to "eliminate homophobia" at a nationally televised press conference.

Change the Game runs events, hosts national conference calls and moderates a closed online community for athletes and leaders passionate about driving change. This is a private community. If you want to join please send us a message. We also engage sports, and their sponsors, and advocate for change. 

Steering Committee

  • Chair & Rugby: Erik Denison, Lead Researcher - Sport Inclusion Project, Monash University (co-founder)
  • Soccer: Joseph Roppolo,  Sydney Rangers (co-founder)
  • Cricket & Professional sport: Alex Blackwell, Vice-Captain, Southern Stars
  • AFL: Jason Ball, Co-Founder, Pride Cup (co-founder)
  • Allies & Governance: Amanda Mark, Bingham Cup and Senior Governance Adviser

Why is Discrimination Still a Problem in Sport? 

That's a good question! Unfortunately, while we have seen change in all other parts of society, homophobia remains rife in Australian sporting culture. A major international study, with nearly 10,000 participants (3000 from Australia), found Australian sporting culture is perceived to be the least accepting of gay people in the English speaking world. In fact, 80% of Australians, from all sexualities, had witnessed or personally experienced homophobia in sport. Slurs such as 'faggot' or 'dyke' were the most common form. It's not just gay people experiencing homophobia. Many straight men and women also suffer abuse. For more stats see the Out on the Fields study.  

Research from beyondblue, and other organisations around the world, has found a direct link between homophobic discrimination in youth sport and the poor mental health of gay people.

Inclusion is Good for Sport Performance and Business

 In 2017, people expect LGBTI to be treated with respect and dignity. When mothers and fathers are considering which sport their kids should play, they want to know a sport is a safe, positive and welcoming environment. Researchers have also found inclusive teams perform better.  

What about Trans and Intersex People?

Members of the gender diverse community also experience discrimination and face many unique barriers. The Victorian Government recently released guidelines to assist sports in supporting transgender people. 

 
 

 
 
There are kids in the suburbs killing themselves, and the game has a responsibility to make kids safe.
— Ian Roberts, the only male athlete to come out in an australian professional football code (1994)
 
 

 
 
 

Let's Chat

If you want more information about Change the Game, or would like to be invited to join our online community, please email us below. 

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