Making sport more inclusive from the locker room out

24 April 2023
  • Despite progress, there are still many barriers to young LGBTQ+ athletes feeling safe and able to fully experience the benefits of sport according to Pride in Sport
  • This can include slurs, bullying and exclusion and can often lead to gay men and lesbians choosing to stay completely or partially “in the closet” while playing sport
  • Coaches are in a unique position to positively influence behaviour and encourage an inclusive environment
  • In response, Allianz Australia has partnered with Pride in Sport to create “Allianz Coach For All” a first-of-its-kind training program for coaches – helping shift the culture from the locker room out
  • The program is a four-part series featuring two coaching legends – Former Australian professional rugby league footballer and Sydney Roosters Head Coach, Trent Robinson, and Australian Paralympic wheelchair racer and leading coach, Louise Sauvage OAM

Sport should be a place where everyone feels included, so to shift the dial on homophobia and exclusion in sporting environments, Allianz Australia has partnered with Pride in Sport, Australia's leading LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport organisation, to launch Coach For All, a first-of-its-kind training program aimed at coaches of all levels to educate and teach on how to create a supportive environment for all players and athletes.

Brendan Dunne, Allianz Australia Chief Customer & Operations Officer and the Executive Sponsor of Allianz Australia’s Pride Network says, "Allianz is committed to the power of sport to bring communities and society together, be it LGBTQ+ inclusion, gender equality or accessibility.”

“We have a long history of supporting sport in Australia and globally. Whether its side-by-side at Allianz Stadium or supporting athletes to compete at the Olympics and Paralympic games and beyond. So we have a unique opportunity to create change for the better.”

“By completing the Coach For All program, coaches will be better equipped to take real action and create a more welcoming environment for all athletes whilst helping everyone feel included in sport,” said Dunne.

Pride in Sport Project Officer, Ben Cork, says the first time kids experience homophobic behaviour and language is often in sports, leading to a culture of ingrained, if unintentional, exclusion which often forces young queer kids to hide their diversity or stop playing sport.

“Out on the Fields1, the largest international study conducted into gay athletes and homophobia in sport supports this, with 73% of LGBTQ+ youth reporting having not felt safe playing team sport. This contributes to increased dropout rates and mental health issues.”

“Australia has also had some of the highest rates of LQBTQ+ exclusion in sport with 80 per cent of Australians surveyed having witnessed or experienced homophobia in a sporting environment,” said Cork.

"The Coach For All program provides practical tools and resources for coaches to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport, while also building more inclusive teams that celebrate diversity. We hope that this program will help shift the culture in sports coaching and create safer and more inclusive environments for all athletes”.

The four-part series features short video modules, Q+As and downloadable PDF resources. Coaching legends Trent Robinson and Louise Sauvage OAM feature in each video module sharing skills to identify problematic behaviour and confront it in potential real-life scenarios.

Sydney Roosters Head Coach, Trent Robinson, a vocal supporter of promoting inclusion in the NRL and sport more broadly, is proud to support the program.

“By taking part in Coach For All and by going through the training modules myself, I’ve learnt how to best tackle the tough conversations and how to confront harmful behaviour in the right way”

"We do coaching courses on strategy, techniques and tactics, but we also need to do better with inclusivity, understanding our role as coaches and how we inform and support the kids, the adults, and ultimately the communities that we coach.”

"I've seen players that weren't comfortable enough to come out with their sexuality until after they finished their career, and I see that as being a reflection on the environment that we create. I do think our sporting environments have improved over the last few years, and we are getting better at understanding how people can be themselves within these environments but there’s still a long way to go,” the Sydney Roosters Head Coach said.

Louise Sauvage OAM, Australian Paralympic wheelchair racer and leading coach has devoted her life to helping young people reach success in athletics and beyond and is calling on coaches to complete the Coach For All program to help ensure supportive environments for all athletes.

“Coaches are seen as leaders, someone that our athletes can trust. We want to create an environment where people can be themselves and for everybody to feel equal. And by having those two things, we are setting them up for success to perform at their best without fear.”  

“I look forward to not only learning more but helping other coaches all the way from grassroots to the highest levels of sport learn how to make sport more inclusive" she said.

The Allianz Coach for All program is available to coaches at all levels, from grassroots to the highest levels of sport, and is completely free of charge. Coaches can register for the program on the Allianz Australia website:

For further information

Ben Handberg

Phone:   +61 4201 859 836


Bella Hayes

Phone:  +61 447 620 033


[1] Denison E, Kitchen A. (2015 & 2019). Out on the Fields: The first international study on homophobia in sport. Nielsen, Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, Australian Sports Commission, Federation of Gay Games. Accessed through:

Out on the Fields conducted the first (2015) and second (2019) international research on homophobia and transphobia in sport. 12,000+ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender participants were surveyed from all EU countries, United States, Canada, Australia, and NZ. View the full Out on Fields Report (PDF, 12.1MB).

Allianz Australia delivers a wide range of personal and commercial insurance products and services to more than 3 million policyholders. It also provides support for workers' compensation insurance to around 25 per cent of the top 200 ASX companies, making it one of the leading workers' compensation insurers in Australia.
Pride in Sport is a national not-for-profit sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist sporting organisations of all levels with the inclusion of employees, athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators with diverse sexualities and genders. The world-first Pride in Sport Index (PSI) benchmarks assesses the inclusion of LGBTQ people across all sporting contexts.
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