In the lead-up to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, we chat to some of Australia’s out women in sport about what it means to be open about your sexulatity as a elite athelte.
By
Sally Shipard, Danielle Warby

Source:
Zela
3 Mar 2016 - 3:17 PM  UPDATED 3 Mar 2016 - 3:24 PM

I will be participating this year in the Mardi Gras of which I am absolutely stoked about. My fellow Queer Screen Film Ambassador, former Olympian Daniel Kawolski has organised an AOC (Olympians) float. Family and friends can come on it too. I have therefore roped in a wonderful group of friends for it and we are all quite excited.

I realised I could help others if I came out

In reference to my sexuality, I’ve never really entertained the idea of ‘coming out’. My family and friends knew, which was important to me, but in regards to the outside world, I didn’t consider it a newsworthy piece.

Recently, however, my perspective has shifted as I’ve realised there exists an opportunity to support people through my story. We’ve all got a story to tell when it comes to learning about ourselves, and being gay is a large part of mine.

The advocacy of my good friend, Australian cricketer Alex Blackwell, further inspired me in taking this step. When all's said and done, if my openness and advocacy connects with and benefits even one person, I shall be content.

Get out and stay out: Alex Blackwell
In the lead-up to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, we chat to some of Australia’s out women in sport about what it means to be open about your sexuality as an elite athlete.

I’ve long identified as a member of the LGBT community, but it’s only recently that I’ve made more of a concerted effort to actively participate, becoming an ally in helping sport become more inclusive.

Athlete Ally has provided a vessel for such a movement. Thanks to the leaders of the movement, they’ve set in motion the opportunity for perspectives to shift. As ambassadors, we have all chosen to join because we want to, not because we have to. We are moving towards a world which doesn’t exist yet – one of which the stigma towards the LGBT community is defunct.

I believe the most powerful aspect of Athlete Ally is that no matter whether you’re straight or LGBT, we are all committed to being a part of the movement to end homophobia and transphobia in sport.

Prejudice exists but we are not alone

Ideally, what do we desire as humans? Acceptance, respect and connection. Let's open our hearts to each other and disregard notions around sexuality, race, religion, any form of indifference. See each other as people. Simple no?

Unfortunately, prejudice exists and we are not there yet, in the interim. Healthy dialogue is key, communicate what it is you feel, be patient and gentle when exploring this aspect of your life, be curious. Once you develop a vocabulary in and around your feelings, you'll realise that saying something out a loud and bringing it to light often reinforces who you are and you discover that you are not alone.