Alex Blackwell is a star on Australia’s national cricket team, a hugely popular sport Down Under. On Sunday, she played in her record 250th match for the team. And yet, as a gay person, she still feels she is being devalued.
Blackwell married her partner, former English cricket player Lynsey Askew, in 2015 in England, but their marriage is not recognized in Australia. That might all change Nov. 7, when a referendum will decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage.
“It does feel for me that while I represent Australia proudly, in return Australia treats me like a second-class citizen and that really is a kick in the guts,” she told The Weekend Australian. “It’s time now for us to be on the right side of history and just get this done. It has dragged on and it has an effect, even on me. To continue to have to argue to be treated equally has an effect and it is wonderful to know the majority of Australians are behind delivering marriage equality and voting yes.”
Australia’s national cricket federation supports same-sex marriage, as do other major sports associations, a fact that heartens Blackwell.
“It’s really important for us to have the leadership in our organisation to show clearly their stance,” she said. “In a way I see it as my captain standing alongside me as if to say ‘you are worthy, you deserve equal rights and we respect every one in our family, our organization.’ “
Blackwell, 34, has persevered in her sport, where women have long been underpaid and only recently has she seen her income from playing cricket grow enough to make it worthwhile to keep playing. What’s next is recognition by her fellow Australians that she deserves the same marriage rights as straight people.