CARLTON’S Brock McLean has become the first AFL player to publicly back the Out on the Fields study that encourages LGBTI Australians to detail their involvement in sport.
In a video released today, McLean says people should take 10 minutes to fill in the online survey as “it’s really going to get to the roots of the issue of homophobia in sport and in society.”
McLean said he has had “an issue with homophobia,” ever since his sister came out.
“She said to me she was worried about how I would be received by my team mates and that said to me there was a problem of homophobia in sport and I took it upon myself to speak up on the issue and get it out in the open,” he said.
“I think homophobia is a very Dark Age sort of attitude.
“I’ve always been bought up to believe no matter where you’re from, what you’re race, who you love what or you’re sexuality is that everyone deserves the right to be treated equally.”
The midfielder is one of AFL’s biggest supporters of LGBTI inclusion marching alongside openly-gay regional AFL player Jason Ball during Melbourne’s Midsumma festival.
“Last year we had two AFL players march, this year we had four so hopefully by next year we’ll have a full team,” he said.
Team mates feeling they have to hide their sexuality “must be just horrific,” said McLean, who hoped sporting clubs “could create a safer environment for people to feel more comfortable with who they are.”
Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 president Andrew Purchas said he was thrilled McLean had come on board to support the Out on the Fields study: “Aussie Rules is a way of life in Victoria so we are confident Brock’s support will encourage fans and players of the game to get involved and tell their stories.”
Victoria University’s Dr Caroline Symons, an academic involved in the initiative said: “this study will help determine how often people witness or experience homophobia, how many stay in the closet and which team sporting environments are the least welcoming for same-sex attracted people.”
Brock McLean’s video message: