Jason Ball

Aussie Rules footballer and LGBTI advocate
It was the one place I thought I’d never be able to come out, ever. I didn’t know any footballers who were gay, so I could only assume the worst, it scared me.
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Ambassador profile

Jason Ball

Jason is an Australian Rules footballer currently playing in the Eastern Football League for Yarra Glen, a town located northeast of Melbourne. He is a passionate advocate for anti-homophobic messaging in sport. He has come out publicly as a gay player, believing same and both sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people more generally, need a role model, and could benefit from his personal experience as a gay player in a male-dominated sport. 

Jason was raised in rural Victoria, and realised he was gay when he was a teenager.

In September 2012, Jason launched an online petition calling on the AFL to run a national anti-homophobia television campaign during the Grand Final. More than 27,000 people signed and the AFL later agreed to show anti-homophobia TV ads on the big screens at preliminary finals.

For Jason, coming out to his teammates was unnecessary as they had figured it out for themselves. Aside from expecting the worst, his teammates were fully supportive. “It was the one place I thought I’d never be able to come out, ever. I didn’t know any footballers who were gay, so I could only assume the worst, and it scared me.”

This by no means indicates Jason’s road to acceptance was easy. As a teenager, Jason’s realisation that he was gay was met with a combination of fear and shame.

“I felt that being gay was the worst thing I could possibly be. I worried that I was going to disappoint my parents, I thought my friends would discard me, and I was terrified of my football team mates finding out. There were times where I felt it would be easier if I didn’t exist, rather than have to tell anyone about who I really was.”

Jason now speaks publicly of his experiences and his passion for making a difference in people’s attitudes towards sexual identity. “The real heroes of my story are my team mates, how they have been nothing but supportive since I came out. The homophobic slurs stopped, and our football club is stronger because of it”.

Jason’s story has provided great momentum for the AFL’s push to tackle homophobia in the game, with the screening of 'No to Homophobia' advertisements on the big TV screen and rumours of a 'Pride Game' being considered.

As a beyondblue Ambassador, Jason hopes his personal story will help others who are struggling with coming out in sport, or in any other context.

“Hopefully, what I can bring is a personal story of what it’s like to be gay and play football and what homophobia looks like and how it affected me… It’s about stories that change hearts and minds. I know if I had known of a gay footballer when I was young, it would have made a world of difference to my outlook on life and my hopes for the future.”

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