My brother was a footballer. His nickname was quite simply, Poof. This wasn’t because he is gay, he’s not, it was because he refused to be part of the ritualistic games some footballers play that involve demeaning women.
Because he was a decent human being he was labelled what his teammates thought would be the most derogatory term they could call him. He was labelled ‘poof’ because in sport, as in many other male dominated bastions, the worst thing you can call someone is a poof or a faggot. Of course it was said in jest, but let’s face it, the implications and the intentions were clear.
Is it the Holy Grail to me if an AFL player comes out? Not really. Will it change my life? Not at all. But it will change someone’s. It will resonate deeply with perhaps some teenager who is currently playing football. It will challenge those who think homosexuality and shame should go hand in hand.
Imagine the first time that football player who has recently come out runs out onto the field. I imagine there would be some cheering, hopefully a lot of crowd support, but I also imagine that at moments during the game when he finds himself close to the boundary line and therefore close to the crowd, perhaps in front of the opposing team’s fans, that he will be an open target. It will be a courageous young man who takes that first step.
Carlton footballer Brock McLean is well aware of that and wants to do something about it. In recent weeks he has come out publicly condemning the ubiquitous homophobia in the football world. He has joined Athlete Ally – an organisation that’s about encouraging sportspeople to stand up to discrimination and he has marched at this year’s Pride March. I spoke to McLean about why he is so passionate about this issue, what drives him and why this is only the beginning.
In this issue we also take a look at the world of dance and in particular, the phenomenon Dance Massive. Michael Magnusson spoke to the extraordinarily talented Matthew Day, a dancer who has done it all from Chunky Move to Lucy Guerin. He talks about his latest work, Intermissions.
We also chat with actor Catherine Davies about the wonderful new production of Arthur theatre company’s play Cut Snake. Bearded ladies, a reptile called Trix and time travel, now that’s going to be a trippy ride.