Essendon will create a new membership specially for gay and lesbian fans, a move that could help pave the way for an AFL-sanctioned Pride Round.
The Purple Bombers is an initiative of long-time fan and club sponsor Jason Tuazon-McCheyne. The membership will be available for the 2015 season.
Tuazon-McCheyne said it was thrilling that Essendon was taking ''a stand against homophobia''.
''It’s really important when I take my husband and son to the football that I don’t have to hear discriminatory words or offensive words and I can feel safe and valued. And the Essendon Football Club does care about its fans.''
Midfielder Brendon Goddard said the Purple Bombers was a natural extension of the club’s #EFCRespect program, which was launched earlier this year.
''[That program] is about welcoming everyone from every diversity to footy and this is just an extension of that. We’re very honoured. It’s a privilege to support Jason and the Purple Bombers,'' he said.
Essendon is the latest AFL club to openly embrace and support its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex supporters. Collingwood has long had its Pink Magpies fan group.