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'It is fantastic seeing a little rainbow flag, no matter how small it is'

UL, Galway Camogie and Na Gaeil Aeracha are among those with LGBTQ+ colours on their jerseys.

IF YOU FIND yourself watching the Sigerson Cup final on TG4 this evening, you might notice a small band of colours on the sleeves of the UL jerseys.

These are of course the LGBTQ+ pride colours, with the Limerick college donning one of the first GAA jerseys to feature them.

david-clifford David Clifford on the ball for UL, displaying the Pride colours on his sleeves. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I am delighted to see that the mantra of the GAA, ‘Where we all Belong’ is manifested in the ethos and re-design of jersey of UL GAA Club,” GAA President Larry McCarthy said as it was launched across all four Gaelic games codes in September.

“Sport, like a university, is a natural home of equality where neither class, nor creed, nor colour, nor orientation, nor ability, should impact on participation. Playing the game quickly eliminates barriers between team-mates and teams, and the GAA is proud of its philosophy that sport is indeed for all. 

“I commend the UL GAA Club in being to the fore in propagating the GAA mantra.”

During tonight’s showdown against NUIG at IT Carlow [throw-in 7.30pm], you may too notice that the UL jersey also features the logo of JIGSAW, a free, non-judgemental and confidential mental health support service for young people.

Small, but incredibly effective touches, with important messages shared.

“It is fantastic seeing a little rainbow flag, no matter how small it is,” Emma Loo, vice-chairperson of Na Gaeil Aeracha, Ireland’s first LGBTQ-inclusive Gaelic games club, tells The42. “We were delighted to see UL including a rainbow band as well.

“For ourselves, we have the progressive Pride flag on our jerseys. It’s on the back of our jerseys and it’s so important to see those colours, to be an active ally and to make sure that you’re using the right flag as well.

“That flag could change, we need to make sure that we’re using the right one as well to accurately represent the wider community and what people globally are saying is the correct flag to use. The progressive flag is the one with the trans and people of colour stripes on it as well. That’s us – even if we’re saying we’re an LGBTQ-inclusive team, we have to be active in what [role] we play as well.

“But in general, just seeing colours is really important for that visibility, and for younger players – they may be closeted and they’ll see those colours, it’s just a comforting feeling I think people receive, that these teams and organisations are actively trying.

“But it’s ongoing, it’s a lifelong process of learning, so it takes time but definitely, we’re all moving forward and it’s great to see.”

The new Galway camogie jersey features that same eye-catching rainbow band on one sleeve, which follows in the footsteps of UL and brings it into the inter-county sphere.

“It’s a powerful statement,” as Tribe star Derbhla Higgins said in an in-depth interview earlier this month. “It shows the Gaelic games family is a place of diversity and inclusion now.

“I think it’s very important for the youth as well… I’m sure it’s going to help a lot of kids at home who might be looking up to role models; if they are struggling it might make it easier for them to deal with it.

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“Myself, I actually have a girlfriend for the last five years. So it’s something that I am very proud of to have on the sleeve of the jersey. I think it’s a huge step in the right direction.”

galway-county-camogie-board-announce-westerwood-global-as-new-sponsors Galway camogie captain Sarah Dervan wearing the new jersey. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

As Uachtaráin Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Larry McCarthy, remarked, and as a recent GAA campaign was titled — Where we all Belong.

“I think it’s a great motto and I’d love to see it being pushed through,” Loo adds. “Pride is a great opportunity. I hope all clubs will want to get involved, whether it’s county or club or college as well. The louder the voices can be, the better.

“Even if it does go from jerseys at the start, that’s one thing you can do. You can even look further and hold workshops – that’s what we want to be doing. We’ll be wanting to get people involved and bring in an educational piece as well. And talk to experts and the right voices who matter to deliver great content.

“That’s what we’ll want to be doing and I’d love to see other clubs doing that too.”

BTL 5

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Emma Duffy

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