Following years of homophobic abuse, one of the Geelong Cat’s most vibrant supporters Troy West, has announced he will be hanging up his colourful game day attire and ‘Catman’ persona, bringing to a close what he describes as a “hellish time” that has made him into a “bitter raging bull”.

West  is the son of former Australian rules footballer Roy West, who played for the Geelong Football Club in the Victorian Football League during the 1960s. West has been donning his now famous cat-man persona- made up in the Cat’s signature blue and white, for 16 years.

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Though now he has revealed the toll this has taken on his mental health, after being targeted by fans of the Cats, saying in a post on social media that “I’m an openly gay, confident, loud, abrasive, energetic, creative, colourful and popular person and that sometimes isn’t what some sections of the community like.

“I need to be around people that love me for who and what I am. People who get my humour and people I love back equally.

 

PUBLIC STATEMENT RELEASE…

Hello everyone…..😬😬😬😬😬
It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that I’m…

Posted by Troy Catman West on Sunday, 18 April 2021

 

“I have been through a hellish time and I feel that it’s time that I must take steps to look after my mental health as I have been at breaking point. I’ve grown up surrounded by homophobia, prejudice and being targeted. I’m at a stage in my life where I don’t think I should be around elements of that nature. In ANY area of my life.”

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“I want to take control of my freedom. Free to do and say what I want without retribution.”

West who has confirmed he will continue to attend games, though not in his usual costume, added in an interview with Channel Nine News that “I’ve got a very tough skin, but people can only take so much.” Adding that “It’s not fun when a video of me goes viral and I read through 20,000 comments of absolute hate, abuse, homophobia, discrimination, and the worst things imaginable you can say to people,’ he added.

 

It was also revealed that West had turned to self-medicating to help him sleep and had become prone to retaliating to some of the more venomous online abuse.

“I just don’t get why people can hate me so much when they don’t know me. I struggle to adapt to the new cancel culture that’s insidiously infiltrated society. There are just too many people out to get me.”

Saying that he had “hurt friends and family with my anger and fallen out with many people. It has to stop. I want the lovely Troy back in my life. And yours.” West has requested privacy at this time while he deals with what is sure to be a very public fall out.

In a statement, the AFL Fans Association condemned the bullying that forced West to retire his colourful Catman persona. “We’re sorry to see that Troy ‘Catman’ West has retired his character due to the behaviour of some. The AFL Fans Association condemns online bullying of any kind,” it said in an online statement.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

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