Some of Australia’s top hockey players have joined with Western Australia’s LGBTI-inclusive hockey team the Perth Pythons to shoot a nude calendar.
The initiative is to fundraise for their efforts to combat homophobia in the sport, the team says.
“Growing up, I would hear a lot of homophobic slurs thrown around the hockey field,” Perth Pythons team member Reid Smith told Fairfax Media.
“I wasn’t able to stand up for others or myself because I was too scared of being rejected by my teammates.”
Eighty per cent of Australians have experienced or witnessed homophobia in sport, according to the Out in the Fields study in 2015.
The Pythons want to use the funds raised from the calendar – which features team members and national stars like Gabi Nance, Tom Craig and Dylan Wotherspoon – to support their work making sport more inclusive for LGBTI players and spectators.
“This calendar, as part of the work we are doing at The Perth Pythons, is our contribution to making hockey a more inclusive sport,” Reid said.
“I hope it gives people the confidence to be their true selves, because that in turn enriches community groups like our sporting clubs.”
The team hope the match will promote diversity and challenge negative stereotypes about sport.
“It means a lot to us because often we have to hide who we are, be it at work or with our families, but sport is a place which we want to be welcoming,” Pythons club president Simon Thuijs said.
“The message we want to get out there is that anyone can play hockey, whether it be for Australia or as an amateur. We want everyone to feel welcome.”