Gay Australian diver urges Aussie rules players to be open about sexuality
Gay Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham says Aussie rules (AFL) players should feel safe to come out about their sexuality.
Mitcham is one of few openly gay Olympic athletes, after coming out before the Beijing Olympics, where he won gold on the 10m platform.
Homosexual rights is again a talking point in Australia after a recent column on gay footballers and the alleged “outing” of AFL players at a football function.
But Mitcham believes the AFL Players’ Association’s work on anti-homophobia had helped pave the way.
“If their environment allows them to feel comfortable enough to come out, I see absolutely no reason why not,” Mitcham said of footballers.
“All the footy codes have been doing so much work to stamp out homophobia in their sports, and I think it’s so brilliant and such a proactive thing on their part.
“It’s a part of me that I love and enjoy and I like being known as gay. I see it as something positive, so it’s just another positive thing to be known as.”
Mitcham was this week named as a Foxtel ambassador for the upcoming Delhi Commonwealth Games after initially struggling to capitalise on his new fame.
He is one of the Australian Olympic movement’s brightest stars and continues to increase his corporate profile.
Last week Rob Mitchell, a member of the state government Sport Governance and Inclusion project, said the appetite to “out” players was counterproductive. He said many gay men committed suicide to avoid disclosure.
About 30 AFL footballers and coaches this year signed up to support a campaign marking the International Day Against Homophobia.
From the Herald Sun