PRIDE comes in many forms.
For Tegan Cunningham, it’s in the honour of designing a special jumper for her former club.
Approached at the end of the 2021 season to be part of bringing to life Melbourne’s inaugural AFLW Pride guernsey, Cunningham knew it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
The former No.1 hadn’t planned to be hanging up the boots at that point but revelled in the chance to support and represent the LGBTIQA+ community.
“It’s a great honour to design the first Pride guernsey for Melbourne,” Cunningham told Melbourne Media.
The design itself, which took inspiration from how other clubs and codes celebrate Pride, is inclusive of two prominent elements: the six-colour Pride Flag and 30 fingerprints, that are representative of each player.
For Cunningham, it was important to feature both, while still maintaining the Demons’ trademark style.
“I didn’t want to take anything away from Melbourne – the guernsey itself,” she said.
“I obviously know that a lot of these girls are already…proud to be wearing that guernsey, so I didn’t want to take away from that.
“I wanted to incorporate the rainbow in a nice way… and I wanted to create something that I knew the girls would be proud to wear.”
With the 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 addition of the 30 fingerprints, which sit on the shoulders and chest of the jumper, continues a theme introduced by Cunningham’s former teammate, Krstel Petrevski – Petrevski recognised the playing group in her design of last year’s Indigenous guernsey.
“It was important to incorporate 30 fingerprints to represent each girl in the team,” Cunningham said.
As Saturday’s Pride Round match between Melbourne and St Kilda fast approaches, the privilege to be part of it is not lost on Cunningham.
The former key forward, who played 32 games and kicked 25 goals for the Demons, is full of gratitude for how the design came to life – and says there’s only one piece of the puzzle still remaining.
“I’m extremely proud,” Cunningham said.
“I’ve had a few girls message me about it and, as much as I have retired and finished playing at Melbourne, it’s still nice to leave a little bit of a legacy there.
“It’s the first guernsey we’ve had, and I feel a big part of the club still, so hopefully they’ll get the W and everything will be sweet.”
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.