Australian cricket legend Shane Warne died aged 52 of a suspected heart attack on Friday night in Koh Samui, Thailand 

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While tributes flowed from across the cricketing world for the legendary spin bowler for his contributions to the game, Australia’s LGBTQI community remembered the cricketer as an ally for his support for marriage equality and more recently the use of gender-neutral pronouns in cricket.

‘Shane Warne Was Deeply Loved By Many’

The outpouring of grief today shows that Shane Warne was deeply loved by many and will be sorely missed by people around the world,” Melbourne-based LGBTQI activist Nevena Spirovska told Star Observer

“Seeing members of the LGBTIQA+ community share their personal stories and reflections about the man – how he supported and encouraged all young cricketers to have a go, advocated publicly as an ally, and stood up against homophobia even when there were no cameras around – demonstrates why many of us connected with him and will be mourning his passing,” said Spirovska.  

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Out trans handball player and 2018 Victorian LGBT Sportsperson of the Year Hannah Mouncey paid tributes to the cricketer and recalled an interaction with Warne on social media. 

“One of the very very few people who left themselves wide open by giving a bit of support when I had nothing, no one and most needed it. My tweet was nothing to do with footy, he made it about it and in doing so gave me more of a lift he will never know. A true legend Shane Warne,” Mouncey said on Twitter. 

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is being held on Saturday March 5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Warne played many games. Mardi Gras organisers acknowledged the cricketer as a proud ally to the community.

“Before we takeover the SCG today, we must acknowledge the tragic news from early this morning that Australian cricket legend Shane Warne has passed away. Shane was an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community and a proud ally,” Mardi Gras organisers said in a message on social media. “Team Mardi Gras sends our love and thoughts to Shane’s family, friends and fans at this time.”

‘All For It!’

Warne was one of the few prominent voices in the conservative world of cricket, who was a vocal ally to the LGBTQI community.

In 2017, during the contentious debate around Australia’s national vote on marriage equality, Warne posted on Twitter that he supported same-sex marriages. 

“I agree 100% !!!! #marriageequaility“, Warne said in an August 2017 post, while responding to a message from a now deleted Twitter account of Margot Robbie. 

Last year, Warne backed the Laws of Cricket, when they officially amended their rules to include gender-neutral language such as “batter” and “batters” rather than “batsman” and “batsmen”.

Warne said he was  “all for it”, when asked about these changes in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

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“I think that simple change from batsman to batter was fair enough. I think it is good. It is a huge business, it is a popular sport, and it is important that it gets with the times,” Warne had said. 

Happier Times, Magda Szubanski Remembers ‘Kath & Kim’ Co-Star

For many in the LGBTQI community who might have not been avid watchers of sports, it was his star turn in the iconic Australian comedy series Kath and Kim. Sharon, played by out actor Magda Szubanski has a sports crush on Warne throughout the series. In the series finale, Warne played Wayne, a Shane Warne lookalike who gets married to Sharon.

Szubanski posted on Twitter that she had woken up in the middle of the night to the terrible news of Warne’s passing. 

“I’ve woken in the middle of the night to this terrible terrible news. I’m in complete shock. This is just too sad. Devastating. Incredible to think that bright, cheeky spark has been snuffed out. RIP Shane Warne. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, loved ones and fans,” said Szubanski, who also posted a photo from the show with the message “Happier times.”

 

 

 

 

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