An Australian study has shown that 80% of people surveyed in Australia believe gay people are only moderately accepted to completely unaccepted in sporting culture.
SportsHosts sat down with SuperHost, Fiona Newton, to hear about her passion to create greater inclusion for all AFL fans.
Fiona Newton (pictured, on left with Susannah 'Motty' Mott and Danae Gibson) from Chicks Talkin’ Footy. Image source: www.cbaa.org
What is your favourite memory of the Hawks?
When my little friend Thomas was 4 years old I promised that I would take him to his first AFL game. The only issue with this, was that I lived in Melbourne and he lived in Sydney - but that wasn’t going to stop me!
His mum rang me early in 2017 to tell me that Thomas was going to the Hawks vs. Sydney game at the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) that May.
At the time I had a 3 month year old baby but I couldn’t break a promise. I got permission to fly up and back from Melbourne for the night so we could attend the game together. He painted his whole face brown and gold for the occasion.
This was my favourite Hawks moment.
Fiona's dog painted in gold strips for the Grand Final!
Why Fiona's Loves SportsHosts
What does showing off AFL your team mean to you?
When I show off my team, I get to show off my favourite part of Melbourne.
How important is it to meet locals while travelling?
Meeting locals is by far the most rewarding part of travelling.
It’s the only way to truly enjoy a place. There’s only so many photos you can take in front of the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben!To really get to know a place it is essential to connect with locals.
A SportsHosts GameDay with the Hawks Pride Group showing off AFL to travellers from USA and Canada
Creating Inclusion in the AFL
Let’s talk about the Hawks Pride Group - What does the group stand for?
The Hawks Pride group is part of the AFL Pride Collective which incorporates all the LGBTIQ supporter groups. The Group exists to unite the LGBTIQ supporters and allies and provide visibility and connection.
What is the mission of the Hawks Pride Group?
We are working with the Club to educate the players and staff on how to be more inclusive of LGBTIQ players and supporters. We have given input into the Club’s Diversity Action Plan and have social events planned throughout the year - watch this space!
In the long term, we plan to work closely with the women’s team and support them by sponsoring a player and offer official Pride membership through the Club.
How did the Hawks Pride Group form?
I started the Hawks Pride group because of the work I’d been doing through the Chicks Talking Footy show on Joy 94.9.
In fact several years ago, I became aware of a study called Out on the Fields that had found that 80% of people surveyed had either witnessed or experienced homophobia in team sport.
Over time I have meet quite a few people from LGBTIQ supporter groups from other Clubs and have been involved in broadcasting alongside the AFL and AFLW (Australian Football League Women’s) Pride Games.
I’ve witnessed first hand a huge shift in LGBTI inclusion in the AFL. I noticed that Hawthorn didn’t have a group like others did so I took the initiative to create the group myself.
The 2018 AFL Pride Game
The AFL’s third Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney Swans is happening this weekend. The Pride Game shines a light on the importance of inclusion and ensuring football is a game for everyone.
St Kilda CEO, Matt Finnis said, “We’re really proud of the work we do throughout the year when it comes to celebrating diversity and fostering a welcoming environment and the Pride Game is the ultimate show of that.”
In its third iteration, the theme of this year’s game is I’ll Stand By You, an ode to the importance of family and support networks among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) community.
Fiona has made a big impact in a small amount of time and we are extremely proud to have her in our SportHosts family and as a 2018 SuperHost.
There are still 2 spots available to join Fiona's GameDay at the AFL Pride Game!