Carlton star Darcy Vescio feels honoured to be a role model for the LGBTIQA+ community as the AFLW prepares for its first pride round.
The Blues and the Western Bulldogs pioneered the pride game in 2018 but this season it will extend to all 14 teams.
The teams will kick-off round two of the season on Friday night in front what is expected to be a capacity crowd at the Whitten Oval.
Carlton and the Bulldogs will be among five teams to wear special pride-themed guernseys, with the Blues’ jumper designed by Vescio.
“It’s definitely the best game to come to in terms of the people who are at the game and people feeling comfortable at the game,” Vescio said.
“We’re able to represent ourselves, the women who built women’s football.
“Because we’re part of that community, we’re representing people throughout the community and the strongest thing is to see yourself reflected in football.
“For a lot of people in the community to watch AFLW and know the girls can relate to them (the players) and know their struggles, as well as celebrating all the identities, is really important.”
AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone said the competition wanted to be a place where players and fans could feel safe no matter their gender or sexual orientation.
“We will certainly be showcasing inclusivity and what pride means to our league,” she said.
“It’s important for our players to be who they are and to feel safe and comfortable playing our game.”
The men’s competition has also hosted a pride game involving the Sydney Swans and St Kilda since 2016.