Canberra United loud and proud to support Pride Round

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Canberra United’s 3-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers was made even sweeter when they accomplished the feat as part of the A-Leagues’ Pride Round.

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Veteran defender, Ellie Brush, has been apart of Canberra’s previous pride initiative but knows how important it is to keep up the visibility for younger generations.

“It’s definitely needed and not so much for us who are comfortable in ourselves and the community…I think its directed to those kids at the moment that are struggling with who they are and their feelings,” Brush said.

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When the participation rate of young LGBTI+ people is 6 per cent in team sports, breaking the stigma at the highest of levels can flow down and make grassroot sport feel safer and more inclusive.

“Having a professional league do this, both men and women, standing up and making it really well known that its totally okay and great to be exactly who you are. There’s nothing wrong with that, you are okay, and you are loved,” Brush said.

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For the A-League Women’s leading goalscorer, Michelle Heyman, the opportunity to wear a pride jersey for her club was an important milestone.

“For us to finally get here and to be able to have the rainbow numbers on the back of my jersey, to have my name in rainbow colours is just something that I’ve always wanted,” she said.

“I’m super proud to be able to represent my community and go out on the field and do the thing that I do best.”

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Heyman has already seen the positive impact that being open about her sexuality can have and hopes the round can spark even more conversations in the future.

“I’ve had personal experience with parents coming up to me after the game saying if it wasn’t for you being out and proud, I wouldn’t be able to understand my child for myself. It’s so important for parents as well to have other people that they can look upon and get good advice,” she said.

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With only one openly gay player in the A-League Men, the importance of the round is particularly important but at the end of the day Brush says everyone is simply working towards the same goal.

“That stigma is still there, the comments and the hatred still exist. We want to wipe that out,” she said.

Statistic from Canberra United.

Feature image credit: Anthony Caffery Photography

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Grace Buckmaster
Grace Buckmaster
Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Covering Canberra United for the 2022/23 season. Women's sport enthusiast.

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