Australia’s national men’s field hockey team just got a whole lot more inclusive.
Davis Atkin, who told Outsports his coming-out story last week, qualified for his home country’s under-21 squad known as the Burras.
According to the Star Observer’s Shibu Thomas, Atkin is “currently Australia’s only [publicly] out gay hockey player at the national level.”
And now he’s playing on a team at the highest ranking in his sport.
Having just turned 21 on Feb. 16, Atkin still made the cut to join the Burras at July’s Australian Under-21 Championships, and he hopes to compete at Malaysia’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in November.
This career achievement comes after a tumultuous year adjusting to a trailblazing role he initially was not prepared for. As Davis recounted for Outsports, he found himself losing control of his personal narrative when his psychologist accidentally outed him to his coach last year.
The outing forced Davis to confront the challenges of being an out athlete before he was ready. Over the last year, he’s found comfort in his passion for makeup. Davis posts his stunning lewks on his popular Instagram account, where he has more than 11,900 followers.
Now that Davis has had time to get a better sense of himself and develop more comfort as an openly gay field hockey player, he’s begun to step up and represent the LGBTQ community.
During last season, Davis became a Hockey ACT Pride Ambassador. After taking on this position, he reflected that it was “important for hockey players that identify as LGBTQI to have examples or see someone like them who plays hockey. Hockey should always be a comfortable and safe space to be yourself and as an ally, I would like to promote this and also be available to talk or give advice.”
Eventually after reaching the age to qualify, Davis hopes to join the Australian national men’s hockey team. It would be an opportunity to open another door for LGBTQ athletes in his chosen sport.
In the meantime, he’ll be competing for the Burras on the pitch at a level as fierce as his latest Instagram look.