IT MAY be the fifth consecutive Pride Game but for silky Carlton forward Georgia Gee, the match hasn’t become any less special over the years.
“Just to look back at it about five years ago – it’s crazy to think that we’ve got another game coming up this year and it’s the fifth consecutive one,” Gee told the Credit to the Girls podcast.
“I feel super privileged to be a part of it each year, I love it and it’s definitely one of my favourite rounds.”
The full AFLW Pride Round is in its second year, however the Game Changers have been taking part as a pioneer of the Pride Game since 2018.
Since its inception, Carlton have celebrated Pride every season before the game was extended to a league-wide Pride Round last year.
The round recognises and supports the LGBTQIA+ community by celebrating inclusiveness and gender diversity, and welcoming all people, no matter their sexual orientation.
For Gee, the round holds particular significance and the privilege of being able to participate is something she holds close to her heart.
“Being in a same-sex relationship, to run out and have a voice for others that feel like they maybe can’t voice their opinion or how they feel, I think it’s just really important for me to be a part of that.
“I’m super lucky that I’m one of those that get to pull on a jumper and raise awareness for it.”
That awareness is a key driver for Gee, who hopes that Pride Round gets people talking.
“I hope it just starts a conversation – about pride and about inclusivity,” she said.
“I think having a voice isn’t always easy but I think for us, being more in the spotlight, hopefully we can raise that awareness and can start a conversation or even have people ask what does LGBTQIA+ even mean?”
Gee has already seen growth on multiple levels with each year the Pride Game has been played, from increased attendance at the game itself to the conversations sparked within her own family.
“I know my family have definitely asked me about it. Them asking questions shows that they’re learning and taking it on board which is really good,” she said.
The participation of the other clubs across the league has only bolstered the profile of Pride, demonstrating the tight-knit nature of the AFLW community.
“I think that’s what I’ve noticed a lot this year, with each club having their own guernsey design – it’s a good thing to have everyone part of it and to show more awareness across all of the games on the weekend.
“All the girls have this feeling amongst everyone that they feel like they can talk to each other and that’s really important. Our friendships make football such a great game to be a part of," she said.
With an interrupted past few seasons, Gee is most looking forward to seeing a multi-coloured crowd back at the football.
“I’m excited to see all the colours, all the new guernseys that people are wearing and just a really good atmosphere and vibe."