AFL's Jason Ball says time to wipe out homophobia

November 24, 2012
Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

About 600 people rallied for marriage equality in Melbourne on November 24. Other rallies took part around Australia.

Jason Ball, the first openly queer AFL player, was a guest speaker at the event.

"I figured I was gay when I was 16 years old," he said. "I knew that I would be treated differently. I was terrified I would disappoint my family. It was no surprise to me that queer and transgender youth are six times [more] likely to suffer depression or contemplate suicide. I wanted to be myself.

"The football club felt like the only place I couldn't do this. I went public to show it doesn't have to be like that. Tolerance and support can come from the places you expect it the least.

"If Yarra Glen Football club is ready for change and the AFL and its supporters are ready to take a stand against homophobia, then what the hell are our politicians in Canberra waiting for? The time to wipe out homophobia has come."

Photos: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

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