West Tigers NRL player Shawn Blore has been called out for a transphobic post on Instagram. New Zealand transgender activist and artist Jaycee Tanuvasa has led calls demanding Blore apologise. Blore had imposed a photo of his teammate Michael Chee Kam over that of transgender dancer Antony Sua with laughing face emojis.
The original image was the special cover of Viva Magazine to celebrate Auckland Pride Festival last month and was seen as a significant moment for the queer Pasifika community.The image featured Antony Sua and other members of voguing group House Of Iman- which is led by Tanuvasa as house mother.
‘I am not going to allow the trans and homophobic behaviour from the members of your team slide,’ Tanuvasa wrote on Twitter.
Hi there I am not going to allow the trans and homophobic behaviour from the members of your team slide. Queer lives are not a joke! This behaviour is not okay! It’s dangerous for my community especially for queer people in NRL who are mostly closeted. pic.twitter.com/OHzmyoGR2q
— Baby (@Jaycee_babes) February 26, 2021
‘Queer lives are not a joke! This behaviour is not okay! It’s dangerous for my community especially for queer people in NRL who are mostly closeted.
‘What are your policies around homophobia and transphobia behaviour from the team? This is cannot be allowed.’
Blore is of course not the first NRL player to be called out for transphobic and homophobic comments and behaviour. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock in the past decade would know of the damage inflicted by former NRL player Israel Folau.
Yet the actions of Blore like those of Folau go against the NRL’s code of conduct which in 2014 became the first national sporting organisation to join ‘Pride In Diversity’ (PID) – Australia’s only non-profit workplace program aimed at assisting employers with the inclusion of LGBTQI staff.
In an interview with The New Zealand Herald, Tanuvasa went on to say, “I’m not trying to ridicule these boys’ careers, I just want some ownership of their behaviour and for them to understand that this is not okay,”
“People are already making fun of us, already bully us for who we are. When you see Pacific Island leaders, male leaders, perpetuate that, what that does is validate those violent behaviours towards us and encourages it even more. Any mockery of our authentic lives will continue to add to the violence of us in our daily lives.”
Tanuvasa claims that there has been no communication from the West Tigers about the posts, with the club only confirming via a statement to Foxsports.com.au that “the club has addressed the matter with both players involved — who removed the posts straight away — and remain inclusive as a club in all aspects of equality.”
West Tigers have been approached by Star Observer for further comment, yet did not respond to our requests by the time of publication.