Two sporting competitions are hosting their first ever rainbow rounds on Saturday, in the lead up to the Newcastle Pride festival next week.
The Wallsend West Newcastle Swans are hosting the Hunter Central Coast AFL's inaugural Pride Cup, which will pit its men and women's teams against the Wyong Magpies at the Billy Elliot Oval in Maryland. Both clubs will be donning rainbow jerseys.
Faith Eadie, 21, who began playing for the Swans this year, said she had found a "very welcoming, supportive community" and the annual event would be a "great way" to celebrate that spirit.
She would like to see a similar approach across all Australian sporting communities.
"There's definitely room for improvement: more acceptance, more visibility and just more awareness that people on any given team are going to be different to each other."
"In our team there's people of different gender expressions and sexualities and I think our team is really good at rallying around each other and using language that reflects inclusivity and doesn't leave anyone out."
Zoe Hennessey will be acting as an official at the Newcastle Roller Derby League's pride bout between the Fort Smashley's and Bogey Rollers at the Newcastle Showground Exhibition Centre. Despite "a lot of crossover" between the roller derby league and the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, she said the event was the league's first ever pride round.
Ms Hennessey said the league welcomed everyone, no matter their sexuality, gender, body shape or roller skating experience. For this reason, roller derby was often the first team sport new players had given a go.
"Sport gives you an opportunity to challenge yourself, and to learn about yourself. I think everybody should have that opportunity," Ms Hennessey said.
Newcastle Pride has sponsored the Swans' jersey.
Newcastle Pride president Lee-Anne McDougall said she was "really excited" about sporting codes getting involved in the festival. "Hopefully in the next number of years we will increase our pride sporting events," she said.
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