Sharni Williams, Rugby Australia
Finalist for the LGBTQ Out Role Model Award: Sharni Williams, Rugby Australia

Finalists for the 2023 Australian Pride in Sport Awards have been announced ahead of the sixth annual awards ceremony that will see sporting identities, clubs and codes across the country gather to celebrate LGBTQ+ inclusion in Australian sport on 10 May in Melbourne.

First held in 2018, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards is a national event dedicated to recognising exceptional efforts in making sports more inclusive of LGBTQ+ people. It is produced by Pride in Sport, the national not-for-profit sporting inclusion program spearheaded by Australia’s largest LGBTQ+ health organisation ACON.

The Awards will feature keynote speakers from experts within the industry, as well as the much-anticipated award ceremony.

One of the leading events on the LGBTQ+ sporting calendar, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards honours athletes, employees, volunteers, and organisations as it showcases the results of the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – the national benchmarking instrument used to assess LGBTQ+ inclusion within Australian sport.

In addition to the recipients of this year’s awards, additional awards will be presented based on the results from the 2022 Pride in Sport Index, including Sporting Organisation of the Year, Community Sporting Organisation of the Year, Most Improved PSI Results, as well as Gold, Silver and Bronze tier sporting organisations.

Pride in Sport National Program Manager Beau Newell said: “The PSI allows sporting organisations and clubs to benchmark their LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices annually, and the Australian Pride in Sport Awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those that have demonstrated very real efforts towards making sport welcoming of everyone.”

“Over the past decade, the shift in focus towards LGBTQ inclusion, zero tolerance of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, not only within the corporate sector via their diversity and inclusion practices, but also within sport and society as a whole has been inspiring and very encouraging.

“Many of Australia’s sporting organisations and clubs are recognising positive steps need to be taken to ensure your sexuality and gender identity does not impact your ability to play, watch or be involved with sport at any level.

“Since its inaugural year, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards have acknowledged and celebrated this significant shift in practice with LGBTQ+ inclusion work in Australian sport.

“With each year that the PSI and Awards have existed, we have observed a sustained growth in the number of, and range of, sporting organisations participating, as well as stronger commitments by sporting bodies to provide safer and more inclusive environments and experiences for LGBTQ+ people.

“This is fundamentally what the Pride in Sport Awards is all about, and we couldn’t be happier to come together and celebrate these achievements.”

The 2023 Australian Pride in Sport Awards is on Wednesday, 10 May 2023, 6 pm – 10 pm at CENTREPOINT at Melbourne Park, Olympic Boulevarde, Melbourne, VIC.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

2023 Australian Pride in Sport Awards Finalists


LGBTQ Ally of the Year Award – Kerry Tavrou, Tennis Australia

– Kristen Stone Hutchinson, Lacrosse Victoria

– Luke Heckendorf, Touch Football

– Marius Zanin, Adelaide United

LGBTQ Out Role Model Award – Darcy Vescio, AFL (Carlton Football Club)

– Matthew Mitcham, Diving Australia

– Alexander Smyth, Cycling, RMIT Sport

– Sharni Williams, Rugby Australia

LGBTQ Inclusive Coach of the Year – Connor Evans, Melbourne Wranglers Wrestling Club

– Lil Waters, Mt Alexander Football Club

– Rowie Webster, Water Polo Australia

– Sam Dengate, T Generation

LGBTQ Positive Media Award – Jacqueline Shields, Q-mmunity Network News (QNN) Joy 94.9

– ‘Melbourne United supports and celebrates Isaac Humphries courageous decision’, National Basketball League (NBL)

– ‘Why community sport matters so much to me as a trans woman’ – Roxy Tickle, SBS News

– ‘How Manly’s jersey predicament taught sport an unintended lesson about inclusion’ – Samantha Lewis, ABX News


LGBTQ Inclusion Initiative Award – AO Pride, Tennis Australia

– SLSA Pride Surf Rescue Board , Surf Life Saving Australia

– Q League, Queer Sporting Alliance

– UQ Rebels Touch Football – Pride Round, Touch Football

LGBTQ Executive Leader Award – Angela Colless, A-Leagues

– Jamie O’Connor, Touch Football Australia

– Mick Garnett, Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT

– Tanya Gamble, Netball Victoria