Former out gay Socceroo player, Stephen Laybutt, 44, texted Ian Pavey, 67, a was a patient at St Vincent’s Hospital where he was working in its rehabilitation unit. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the message said, “Hey mate it’s Steve from St Vincent’s. I want to investigate if I could give you a kidney. Consider it please.”

Pavey was on dialysis for three years leading up to his kidney transplant in October this year.

“You only ever hear the bad stories about hospitals,” Pavey told the news outlet. “I’m luckier than most people because I live here, in Australia.”

The Right Thing To Do

Laybutt’s kidneys were tested to see if they were compatible with Pavey’s body. A psychologist also analysed him to make sure he was mentally fit for the operation.

“I just liked his attitude,” Laybutt said about Pavey. “He was always positive. I thought, ‘I should help this guy’. People have asked me what the thought process was behind it. I just thought it was the right thing to do.”

He said he was “very sore” after the procedure, but “was up and about after three days”. 

Laybutt played 15 matches as the journeyman defender for the Socceroos between 2000-2004. His career ended after he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

He came out to his friends in 2008 following his retirement. “I spiralled out of control for a while. I was just lost, thinking everything would be sweet because I came out,” he said.

Coming Out

“[My sexuality] had a massive effect on my career. I wish I’d played in a World Cup – but it was still a half decent career. A few rumours went around, some media approached me, but I didn’t return their calls.”

He’s been with his partner, Michael Lutteral since 2010, and started working at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Private in 2019. 

He contacted Joshua Cavallo, the United Adelaide soccer player who came out in October. He hasn’t yet received a reply from the 22-year-old.

“The support he’s got is great, but hopefully he can kick on and be a decent player who is judged on his ability, not being the gay footballer, even if that’s what he will always be,” he said about the young soccer star.

“I’m comfortable in my skin now,” Laybutt said. “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. It’s who I am.”


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