From displays of activism from Australian rugby to the annual debate around Margaret Court’s legacy at the Australian Open, athletes are actively playing a role in the continued fight for LGBT+ rights beyond the official recognition of same-sex marriage by the Australian parliament in December 2017.
In an interview with Melinda Farrell of Brisbane Times, cricketer Megan Schutt sheds light on her fight as an out lesbian in sports and combating the public backlash that entails, not only at the height of the same-sex marriage debate in 2017, but also in two recent incidents involving homophobic abuse from fellow cricketers James Pattinson and Marcus Stoinis.
“I haven’t been attacked for being a lesbian but I know men that have been for being gay. And the fact that it’s always men that are still using those derogatory terms is the most disappointing part of it because they’re going to have gay friends, whether they’re out to them or not. Calling this person this, that’s going to make them not want to come out to you and that just puts us back in the closet where we don’t want to be.”
Currently there are no out players in Australian men’s professional cricket, and while this recent abuse from Pattinson and Stoinis show there is still work to be done in creating a space for men in cricket to feel comfortable coming out publicly, reactions to cricketer James Faulkner’s ‘coming out’ misunderstanding were overwhelmingly positive.
Schutt, meanwhile, will go into this week’s Women’s T20 World Cup the #1 ranked bowler in the world, with Australia up against India in the group stages on Friday. With her career going strong and with the support of her family, fans, and wife Jess Hollyoake, she feels comfortable in her own skin to use her growing platform to vocally stand up against homophobic abuse.
You can read Megan Schutt’s full interview in Brisbane Times here.