A Gay Dinosaur, Footy Community and Three Years On

I feel nervous even thinking about writing this, it’s a lot different to usual. And honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if this remains as a rant I keep locked up in the cloud, never to drop for viewing eyes. But it’s important, so let’s see how this goes.

Right now it’s raining, grey and the anticipation of a top of the table WSL clash remains on hold, with a waterlogged Wentworth Park the decision maker to postpone the match.

Today marks another occasion according to my facebook memories. 2017 was the year of Australia’s marriage equality plebiscite. I sprung this photo on my social media feeds with a comment that essentially went: “I want to get married someday, so I’ll be voting yes”.

I mean, a dinosaur with rainbow flags is the perfect way to say you’re a lesbian right?

It’s a moment that will always leave me smirking in disbelief that it happened, but proud that it did. This moment would never have happened without the community I have through football.

I’ve always avoided writing about anything on my coming out or even sexuality. I figure you’re here to read about footy and I much rather talk about tactics, canteen food and road trips. Ironically I had just started my blog a couple months prior to my gay dinosaur post, so 2017 was a massive year. But these conversations are important. So here goes.

Leading up to my coming out I found acceptance in sport.

When I was 22 I returned from a football-hiatus and decided to play again, joining a club at Harrington Park, in South West Sydney. 

For the first time it no longer mattered whether I was gay, straight or otherwise.

I was extraordinarily fortunate to have found this in sport at a time where I was trying my hand at ‘adulting’ and ‘sorting my shit out’. (‘Sorting my shit out’ remains a thing I still work at). Joining a football club suddenly created a space for me where I could simply exist, without the presumption of anything on my sexuality. 

As someone who doesn’t love opening up about feelings, this space was welcomed with delight.

I had only recently moved to New South Wales and no one at the club knew me, my background or family. Suddenly I was in this space where I wasn’t the Christian with a gay twin brother. I was just someone who loved football and could fly under the radar with anything regarding sexuality.

Soon I returned to Tasmania, found another football club and felt exactly the same sense of belonging. To this day, I feel extremely fortunate to have always felt safe and accepted within the sport I love. Firstly as a player and now in media. I understand this isn’t the case for many, and I hope with all my heart that we can change that.

During this time and following the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the Twitter bug well and truly hit. I began to immerse myself in the world of Twitter, WoSo and anything to do with women’s football. Here I found a beautiful, diverse and proud community. 

On social media, under relative anonymity, I met people who are now core parts of my support system. An important step to discover who I am was to find people who loved football, but also shared many similar life experiences, and others with vastly different ones. This remains so important and at its purest is the reason social media is a brilliant space.

Women’s football is special. It’s a space where queer women are very visible. I was fortunate to discover this at a time when social media allowed this visibility to be at my fingertips, with many players, fans, media and officials brave enough to embrace and be open about who they are.

So.

Some people may find it odd, amusing or insane the amount of travel, time and devotion I spend covering and simply watching football matches. I’ll be honest, I often think those things too. 

However at the heart of it, the reason I do is because I’ve found where I belong. It’s home in so many ways, with the acceptance I’ve found a big reason I sleep easy at night.

I’ll always strive to make anything I’m part of a safe place and to embrace diversity. If you or anyone you know is struggling with your sexuality, I’m always about. Whether you want to talk things out or to be distracted by a conversation about how a defence playing a deep sweeper and high fullbacks is begging for trouble, I’m around.

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