MELBOURNE has today launched its inaugural Pride guernsey, in recognition and support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Demons will wear the specially designed jumper when they host St Kilda on Saturday afternoon at Casey Fields, during the league wide AFLW Pride Round.
Designed by former Melbourne player Tegan Cunningham, the guernsey is one of celebration, recognising diversity within the club and wider AFLW community.
With the six-colour Pride Flag at its core, shades of red, orange, yellow, green and indigo make up Melbourne’s traditional ‘V’, complemented by the colour violet at the base.
The symbol of unity is further enhanced by the addition of 30 thumbprints – one for each player – on the shoulders and chest, representing the legacy of individual Demons and the impact each can have on the community.
The Pride Flag is extended onto the back of the guernsey, where the six colours line the playing number, while Major Partner Zurich has marked the dedicated round with a special logo change, incorporating the Progress Pride Flag.
Cunningham, who retired from the club last year after four seasons, reflected on the honour of bringing the club’s first Pride jumper to life.
“When designing the guernsey, it was important that I kept the Melbourne colours,” she told Melbourne Media.
“I think it’s a privilege to wear the traditional Melbourne design, so I didn’t want to take anything away from that. Keeping the red and the blue as the main parts of the rainbow was how I designed this part of the guernsey.
“Moving to the fingerprints, it was important to incorporate 30 fingerprints to represent each girl in the team.
“It’s important for them to recognise the mark they can leave on a community, whether they’re playing, retired, or what not.
“I really wanted to have something representative on the back. I’m really glad we could do the number in the colours, and I think it just complements the front.
“I’m really proud of how the design has come to life and can’t wait for the girls to wear it this weekend.”
In addition to the new kit, Melbourne will wear rainbow socks when it does battle with St Kilda on Saturday afternoon, adding to the celebration. The Demons’ Pride supporter group, the Ruby Demons, will also be a key feature of the day.
All matches will see umpires wearing rainbow sweatbands, goal umpires using rainbow flags instead of the traditional white, and rainbow markings on the ground.
In its second year, AFLW Pride Round is a formal celebration of inclusivity, diversity, growth and acceptance, and a step forward to ensuring the game is a safe place for all.
The Demons encourages all to head along to Casey Fields, for what is not only Pride Round, but the first home game of their 2022 AFLW campaign.