14/04/2024

The Eastern stand of Coopers Stadium with seat covers to make up the rainbow pride flag. Photo Credit: Jarrod Walsh/Twitter

After the first ever pride games were held in the A-Leagues on February 26, The Inner Sanctum's Steven Poletti takes you through their experience of the day.

In the lead up to pride round in the AFLW, I wrote a bit about myself and how I am part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and interviewed several AFLW fans who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community to tell their stories.

Three weeks after the AFLW pride round, A-Leagues club Adelaide United announced they would be hosting the first ever pride games in A-Leagues history on February 26, with the Adelaide Women facing Melbourne Victory and the Adelaide Men facing Central Coast Mariners.

I had been waiting for this to happen for a long time, as had others. It was long-overdue. I knew I had to be there and nothing was going to stop me.

After seeing how expensive flight prices were, I immediately put that option of travel out of the question, and made the decision to drive. 

14-plus hours. 1329 kilometres. One way. 

It was worth every second of a long and gruelling road trip across the country.

The top of the Eastern stand was decked out with seat covers to make up the pride flag. Mini flags were given out. Staff working the game were wearing mini ribbons in rainbow colours.

Fans all around the stadium were decked out in varying degrees of pride displays. 

The numbers and names on the back of the Adelaide United jerseys were rainbow, and Melbourne Victory got in on the action by wearing socks with the colours of the rainbow, BIPOC, and transgender flag on them. 

The song ‘This Is Me’ was performed by Issie Hart prior to kick-off (that reduced me to tears of joy as the emotion of the day finally got to me).

The Red Army put together an amazing display which read “Together Love Always Wins” across four separate banners with different colours on each to represent four different flags of the LGBTQIA+ community (transgender, rainbow/pride, pansexual, and bisexual), which was accompanied by safe smoke in the six different colours that make up the rainbow pride flag.

The Red Army holding up banners with different flags on them reading “Together Love Always Wins”. Photo Credit: Adelaide United/Twitter

My biggest concern in the week leading up to it as I was preparing to embark on my trip was that it would come off as tokenistic.

More Football News

A-League Women Team of the Week: Round 12

A-League Men Team of the Week: Round 15

Why active support needs to be an inclusive environment for all

It did not. It felt like a genuine and heartfelt celebration of pride for the LGBTQIA+ community that we had been waiting for and deserved.

Could some things have been done differently or a little better? 

Of course, but this was the first time. It was never going to be perfect, nor what I would have envisioned in an ideal scenario, which may not line up with what others would have envisioned in their ideal scenarios of a pride game, and that is ok. 

We all view pride differently. We all celebrate it differently. But the important thing is that we all celebrate it together.

Adelaide United did an amazing job at putting this entire event together and should be applauded for doing so.

After the long wait for a pride game in the A-Leagues, we finally got the first two.

I hope they are the first of many, and that this is very quickly adopted league wide as a pride round sooner rather than later. 

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply