Australia’s gay community has become increasingly visible in recent years and many are finding it harder to hide their identities.
One of the first to be revealed was 19-year-old Nathan Tinkler, who last year was the first openly gay athlete in the AFL.
“I just wanted to show the world what a true LGBT person looks like,” he told the ABC’s Q&A program.
I was like a child again’ Tinkling told the program he was raised in the south-east of the country, but his family moved to Sydney in 2014 when he was 11. “
We were just really happy to finally be able to celebrate and make history.”‘
I was like a child again’ Tinkling told the program he was raised in the south-east of the country, but his family moved to Sydney in 2014 when he was 11.
“The whole family were supportive, so I was like, ‘I’m going to Australia to be like a kid again’,” he said.
Tinklers parents had a different perspective.
“My mum, my dad, and my brother all had different views on being gay,” he said, “but I guess they thought it was okay because we were raised to believe in equality.”
Tinkles parents’ views on gay people being able to “come out” in Australia “I think they had a really good view that there was nothing wrong with it.”
Tinks journey to Australia was a long one.
“For some reason I got really interested in it, I started doing it,” he recalled.
“And I started seeing a lot of gay people and they were really supportive of me.”
Tinky was born in New South Wales, grew up in Sydney and was bullied by his classmates.
“A lot of times I was the one that was bullied and that made me feel bad about myself, and that was really isolating,” he explained.
‘The only way to be successful’ In 2015, the Australian Football League signed a new code of conduct banning homophobic behaviour. “
But then, the next thing I knew, I got the phone call saying that I was going to be a star.”
‘The only way to be successful’ In 2015, the Australian Football League signed a new code of conduct banning homophobic behaviour.
“In a couple of years, it became a little bit easier,” Tinkled said.
I had a lot less self-doubt and I had more confidence.” “
At first, I was confused, but I was really into it.
I had a lot less self-doubt and I had more confidence.”
But in the process, Tink was also trying to “find my voice.”
“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and it’s still a struggle, but it’s a lot easier now,” he continued.
I don’t think I’ll ever be in the mainstream.” “
If you’re not in the public eye, you’re really invisible.
I don’t think I’ll ever be in the mainstream.”
Tinker’s journey to becoming an AFL player has also been a “long road”.
He told the news program he wanted to be “a good teammate” and not “a bad guy”.
Tinklin says he is still unsure of his sexuality, but says he “wants to be loved”.
“I was born to be able play football and be proud of who I am, and I’m going for it,” Tinker said.
The first-ever openly gay AFL player The AFL has become one of the most visible sporting organisations in Australia, but gay and transgender athletes are still rare.
Last year, the AFL announced it would ban homophobia and transphobia in its code of practice, and have recently been given a code of ethics.
The AFL is expected to have more openly gay players by 2020.
But the decision has been met with mixed reactions in the community.
“One thing that I’ve always said, that I always feel like I should be accepted for, and being accepted for who I’m, is I’m not just someone who is going for the spotlight, I’m someone who can make a difference,” Tinky said.
“I can make change, I can be a champion.
They just want to support me and make me feel welcome.”