The Essendon Football Club recently launched its latest supporter group, Purple Bombers, in an attempt to deal with homophobia in the sport head on.
The Purple Bombers aim to assist the Essendon Football Club and the AFL more broadly, in being leaders of change by creating a safe environment for LGBTIQ supporters and players, by encouraging and promoting diversity, tolerance and acceptance within the wider football community.
“Everyone deserves to be treated equally regardless of race, religion, beliefs, sexuality,” Essendon midfielder Brendon Goddard said. Goddard says he had no hesitation lending his name to the message. “Hopefully one day we can all be treated equally and they’re not looked at as being different from anyone else.”
Within months of memberships going on sale, Purple Bombers have seen support from all over the globe. Memberships have been sold in Europe, the USA, Papua New Guinea and in every state of Australia. This goes to show that homophobia in sports isn’t just an issue in Australia, it’s consequences are felt all over the world.
Purple Bombers President Jason Tuazon McCheyne, Senate candidate for the Australian Equality Party, works tirelessly to promote and educate on LGBTQI values and needs. The Purple Bombers was born after a social function where other same sex couples all sat in secrecy. The time had come to not hide their sexuality, to be out and proud.
With support from Beyond Blue and the AFL, the foundations for a strong coterie group are in place. A large percentage of the money raised via the Purple Bombers goes directly back into the club, to aid and assist the development and reach, something the Purple Bombers are very proud of.