Celebrating our Red & Black Pride

At Purple Bombers HQ, we couldn’t be more chuffed with how this year has gone so far. The Bombers are playing great footy, and are doing us all proud, and we’ve had such an exhilarating 2017. Having formed in 2014, every year has had its surprises in the amount of support we get from our beloved fans and friends. This year has really shown us how all our hard work is really gaining momentum.

With the unwavering support of the Essendon Football Club, we’ve held some really memorable events in the last fortnight.

The attendance at the Bombers training day on Monday 15 May gave us a moment to share with the staff, coaches and players of EFC, to talk about IDAHOT Day – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – and how all of their support has given us so much hope, strength, confidence and pride to be part of the community.

Many of the players reiterated the same message that Jason was sharing, with Michael Hartley adding “I just think everyone deserves to be safe and secure at the footy and everyone has the right to watch the footy and have fun, without being persecuted for how they are.”

EFC CEO Xavier Campbell summed up the position of the football club well, saying:

“We want to create an environment where we’re an incredibly inclusive football club, and to do that we need to ensure we understand all of our supporters, all of their stories. And we need to create an environment that means they feel comfortable enjoying what it is that they love, what we all love, which is the Bombers and that’s why we’re incredibly passionate about what we’re doing.” - Xavier Campbell

Bombers players wearing their Pride Guernseys Essendon players support Purple Bombers Jason Tuazon-McCheyne speaking to the Essendon players

Our Red and Black Pride Night was our not-to-be-missed event of the season, and it was a show-stopper. We had a stellar line-up of guests – AFLW player Penny Cula-Reid, First out AFL player Matt Hall, Former Athlete & Politician Nova Peris OAM, and the Essendon legend that is Kevin Sheedy. Tiffany Cherry was our wonderful MC for the event…plus, we had a heap of the boys from the side there to cheer us on too.

At our #RedAndBlackPride event, we presented Brendon Goddard with the 2017 Equality Champion Award. He is our founding member and has been such a support to us and the LGBTIQ community and a great friend to our President Jason Tuazon-McCheyne.

The power panel from Purple Bombers Red and Black Pride Night Special Moments from Red and Black Pride Night Long Walk and Purple Bombers award winners

Penny explained that “As the first female openly gay footballer, I think it was important to be to be a part of this amazing event, and I’m very lucky and thankful to be asked by the Purple Bombers to be part of tonight. I think Essendon are doing a great job and are paving the way, and it won’t be long until the other clubs get behind it and really make a stand because at the end of the day, everyone is equal, and we love football.”

Jason capped off the night sharing this thought:

“I think tonight was another step forward and it’s really nice just to be a part of a conversation when 4 years ago there weren’t any conversations.” - Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, Purple Bombers President

Coming together with the amazing people from Long Walk, as well as the Essendon’s Women’s Network, gave us all a sense of togetherness and strength that we’ll remember forever. And having the night hosted by our friends at PwC, who proudly had their PwC Glee committee run the event, just showed us how powerful we can be when we all work together.

To cap off the week, we invited some of our VIP members to stand at the Guard of Honour for the Bombers who ran through the banner for AFL’s Pride Round. The banner words, courtesy of one of our business sponsors Maria Kitjapanon, summed up what we and our beloved footy club believe in.

Essendon's equality banner at AFL's Pride Round Purple Bombers Members unite at Pride Round Purple Bombers Members unite at Pride Round

What made the day for us was the boys wearing their rainbow guernseys on the ground while training, and to see so many Bombers fans wearing their PB gear to the Pride Game. To see all the beanies, scarves and pins being worn showed us that we are valued, and we couldn’t be more proud.

So if we haven’t said it enough already, we want to send out a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us and what we do, and helped us to become so powerful in creating change. Without the Bombers players, the Bombers staff, the fans, and our friends and family, we wouldn’t have the voice we do today. So, THANK YOU x

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