29/05/2024

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 07: A general view is seen of player Pride round socks on the 50m line paint before the round two AFLW match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Adelaide Crows at Blacktown International Sportspark on February 07, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

Erin Phillips, Darcy Vescio and Tori-Groves Little are some of the biggest faces in the AFLW's Pride Round in 2022.

AFLW Pride Round is an initiative that all teams have agreed to observe this weekend, during the AFLW’s competition in 2022.

This is the second time that all clubs have observed this round with Carlton and Western Bulldogs at the centre of this venture holding the first ‘Pride Game’ in 2018 and holding one every year since. They were joined by St Kilda and Melbourne in 2020.

One of the biggest advocates of Pride Round is Erin Phillips of the Adelaide Crows. Erin Phillips is in a same-sex relationship with her wife Tracy Phillips, a former WNBA basketball player.

Starting with the marriage equality campaign and now a voice for LGBTQIA+ people, she has been concerned with making sure that young LGBTQIA+ footballers should learn to be comfortable with who they are. In 2017 she said “I am very comfortable in my own skin and I am comfortable in my own marriage. If we can be role models for girls who are gay or straight… in a positive way, how good is that.”

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Erin Phillips thanks fans after the defeat at the hands of the Brisbane Lions in the 2021 AFLW Grand Final.

One of the many faces of the Pride Round includes Tori Groves-Little.

‘TGL’ is a non-binary AFLW player who plays for the Gold Coast Suns and has recently come out as non-binary, the first in the competition.

“There’s two parts of being non-binary,” they said.

“There’s one where you’re more gender fluid where you could wake up and feel more feminine or one day you feel more masculine. And there’s the second one, which I identify more as, is neither.

“It sucks medically when you’ve got to put male or female, it just doesn’t feel right. It’s just gender-neutral, I guess. I don’t like to identify as either.”

Darcy Vescio, a Carlton Blues forward, then followed Tori Groves-Little and came out publicly as non-binary. Checkily saying that they would be “most comfortable with they/them pronouns and will always respond to Darcy unless in trouble.”

Tori Groves-Little just wants people to be aware and not assume gender pronouns but understands in a group setting like a team this is not always possible. On an individual basis though, they say that they want to see an effort made even if it is a slip of the tongue just correct it and don’t make a big deal out of it.

“Everyone is different. You can have people that are strict and pull you up, but I’m all about educating.” They said.

“I hope I can educate people who fall into the community, but other allies as well … reach out and have a chat.”

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