Rainbow Swans grow with Mountains support
SYDNEY’S official AFL team, the Sydney Swans, has a colourful new supporter this season with the Rainbow Swans achieving official accreditation as their LGBTIQ supporters’ group.
Katoomba resident Stephen Fogarty, the convenor of Rainbow Swans, was one of the main driving forces behind the move, alongside others including the late Dave Proctor, also of Katoomba.
Starting out as a simple Yahoo! group more than a decade ago, the Rainbow Swans now operate a Facebook group where the almost 300 members (and growing) discuss everything Sydney Swans, from game reviews and general news to upcoming events.
“It’s all about breaking down those stereotypes of your average AFL supporter,” said Stephen.
“We’re normal, everyday fans who all share a passion for the Sydney Swans – except where most people are attracted to the opposite sex, most of us are attracted to the same sex.”
The group schedules get-togethers at a local establishment to watch away games, while members rarely miss home games.
In February, the Rainbow Swans were a presence at the Sydney Swans Fan Day at Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter, marking the group’s first official involvement at a club event. They recruited about 20 new members at Fan Day, which Stephen said was a positive step towards acceptance and inclusion.
“Visibility is important,” he said. “It was a great day, there were no issues at all, which was fantastic.”
The Rainbow Swans expect to gain more momentum as the AFL’s first in-season Pride Match (between the Swans and St Kilda on August 21) draws closer. The game at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium during Round 21 is planned as a show of support for equality and a stand against homophobia in sport.
The Rainbow Swans are hoping to have a presence at the Pride Match. Meanwhile, another of the group’s goals is to appoint an official player ambassador.
“We’re strong in our views and strong in advocating for the gay and lesbian community,” said Stephen.
“We’re all about breaking that stereotype about who is interested in Aussie Rules football – we’re just as passionate as anyone else.”
For more information, visit the Rainbow Swans’ Facebook group, located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/71119370230/ .