With a strong desire to give back to our amazing community, at the end of last year I approached the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Paralympic committee (APC) seeking endorsement from them to enter a float in the 2016 Sydney Mardi Gras.
Just last year I had participated in the Anti Homophobia in Sport float that led the annual parade and it was a huge thrill and honor. Despite this though I felt the ‘non professional' sports in Australia needed to do more for the LGBTIQ community as the reality was the professional codes were so much more ahead of the game- not that it's a competition!!
Upon approach, the response from both the AOC & APC was fast, positive and without hesitation, just as the uptake from athletes, gay and straight, along with their family, friends and supporters has been. This week, for the very first time we march in support for inclusiveness, acceptance without discrimination and diversity. We do this for the young boy and girls, men and women of Australia as a show of support that their goals and dreams of representing this amazing country should not be compromised due to sexuality.
Our involvement is bigger than any one individual; it's about a collective show of support. In total we have over 80 marchers, more than 20 Olympic & Paralympic medals between all marchers, but as we all know, sports are most importantly about the process not the outcome.
I hope that this Saturday is the first of many parades these sporting movements and members endorse.
You can find Daniel Kowalski on Facebook. Below Kowalski is with fellow athletes Matthew Mitcham, Ian Thorpe, Shelly Gorman, Sally Shipard, and Casey Conway for a screening of the film 'Out To Win.'