Inaugural 'PLAY WITH PRIDE BRUNCH' to celebrate diversity and inclusion in sports

Published Fri 31 May 2024

Adelaide University Sport and Fitness, in collaboration with the University of Adelaide, is excited to announce the inaugural ‘Play with Pride Brunch’, scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 27, from 9:30am – 11:30am at the stunning SkyCity Ballroom in Adelaide. This exciting event aims to unite athletes, advocates, and allies to celebrate LGBTIQA+ representation in sports, with an anticipated attendance of over 200 guests.

Hosted by the voice of live sport in Australia, Jarrod Walsh (he/him), the Pride Month event will focus on celebrating diversity and inclusion in sports. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to network and hear from members of the LGBTIQA+ community to gain practical insights and tools for fostering inclusivity within their own sporting clubs and communities.

Adelaide University Sport and Fitness (AUSF) is committed to inclusivity, and the ‘Play with Pride Brunch’ highlights their dedication to providing opportunities for everyone to participate in sports. Michelle Wilson (she/her), CEO of AUSF, stated, "This initiative reflects our dedication to fostering a sport-for-all environment. Our community is diverse, and we want everyone to know they are welcome and valued and that there is a place for everyone in sports."

We are thrilled to announce Hazel Robinson-Cox (she/her) will be speaking at the event. She is an active member of the Adelaide  University Volleyball Club and a student at the University of Adelaide pursuing a Bachelor of Health and Medical Science (advanced). With over a decade of experience playing both indoor and beach volleyball, Hazel is an out and proud transgender athlete who passionately advocates for diversity and representation in sports. Inspired by the queer role models who created a safe and inclusive community, she aims to continue their legacy.

When asked about her sporting journey, Hazel shared, "Thanks to organisations like Volleyball South Australia and Adelaide University Sport and Fitness, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I now have the privilege of serving as a representative and role model for others like myself, aiming to make a similar impact on fellow athletes. That's why representation matters." In response to speaking at the Play with Pride Brunch, she added, "As a trans athlete, I bring a unique perspective and voice to the queer and gender-diverse members of our sporting community. The key takeaway I hope for all attendees is the importance of being accepting of everyone in sporting spaces. Sports can be daunting for queer individuals, so this is a good platform to remind people to be kind and treat everyone as you would like to be treated."

Karla Della Pietra (she/her), CEO of Volleyball South Australia, also expressed her excitement about the event and praised Hazel's participation, saying, “Hazel is a valued member of the volleyball community, and we’re looking forward to hearing her insights at the first 'Play with Pride' brunch. We're proud to stand beside Hazel as she shares her insights and experiences, inspiring others to embrace diversity and acceptance in sports and beyond.”

Among the 40 Adelaide University (AU) Sport clubs available to students and the wider community of Adelaide, the AU Rugby Club distinguishes itself for its commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion. In 2020, they established the AU Sharks, Adelaide’s first gay and inclusive rugby team, welcoming individuals of all sexual orientations, and skill levels. Kim Evans (she/her), President of AU Rugby Club, emphasised the significance of representation in sports, stating, “We know sport plays an enormous role in people’s mental and physical wellbeing, and we know LGBTIQA+ people are sadly under-represented in sports at all levels. Visibility is key in cultivating inclusivity; It breaks down barriers and ensures everyone feels welcome, valued, and confident just to be themselves.” Reflecting on the upcoming brunch, Evans commented, “the Play with Pride Brunch serves as an excellent platform to shine a spotlight on the importance of inclusivity in sports. Gathering key stakeholders from the Adelaide sports community in one room fosters networking and discussions on this topic. We hope attendees will gain some valuable insights to champion inclusivity within their sporting clubs or communities."

The ‘Play with Pride Brunch’ promises to be a highlight on the University of Adelaide’s Pride Month calendar of activities. Further speaker announcements will be released shortly and sponsorship opportunities are available for businesses looking to support this exciting event.

Click here for more information, ticket purchases and sponsorship opportunities.