clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Aussie Rules Football League players come out as gay couple

Australian couple still not allowed to marry.

Mia-Rae Clifford and Penny Cula-Reid both play in the AFL’s women’s conference.
Instagram

Penny Cula-Reid and Mia-Rae Clifford made history in the last couple weeks in so many ways.

First they became two of the first women to play in the Australian Football League, in the AFL’s new women’s league.

Then they became the first two players to come out in elite-level professional Aussie rules football.

And on Saturday the couple became the first couple to play against one another in an AFL match.

"We're proud, and proud of each other," Cula-Reid told The Age in a profile of the couple.

"We're AFL players, we're playing for different AFL teams and we happen to be in a relationship. Once we step onto that field our alliances are with our AFLW clubs. No love lost. We're not here to wave the flag for gay rights, we're here saying 'this is us'. And if that helps someone in the future, that's great."

Around the world the number of publicly out LGBT women in professional sports significantly outweighs the number of publicly out men. So it’s not surprising that it would be two women who became the sport’s first elite-level out athletes. Sadly, like every other same-sex couple in Australia, they are not allowed to legally marry.

On Saturday night, Melbourne crushed Collingwood, 44-25, giving Clifford household bragging rights and her team’s first win of the young season.

You can follow Penny Cula-Reid on Instagram @pcula. Mia-Rae Clifford is also on Instagram @miarae44.