As part of our Positive Week, Celebration Of Diversity In Our Community, the College invited guest speaker Mr Jason Ball.
Jason is an Australian Rules footballer currently playing in the AFL Yarra Ranges competition for Yarra Glen, a town located northeast of Melbourne. He is a passionate advocate for anti-homophobic messaging in sport. He has come out publicly as a gay player, believing same and both sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people more generally, need a role model, and could benefit from his personal experience as a gay player in a male-dominated sport.
Jason shared his personal experience with our students, of realising he was gay at the age of 12 and then feeling that he had to hide his true identity so as not to disappoint his family and friends. He spoke of his struggle to live a 'double' life.
For Jason, coming out to his teammates was unnecessary as they had figured it out for themselves. It turned out there was only so much he could hide, but aside from expecting the worst, his teammates were fully supportive.
Jason's story has provided great momentum for the AFL's push to tackle homophobia in the game, with screening of 'No to Homophobia' advertisements on the big screen and as the driving force behind the AFL's first ever 'Pride Game' played between St Kilda and Sydney in Round 21 of 2016, first of its kind for a professional sporting competition in the world.
Jason now speaks publicly of his experiences and his passion for making a difference in people's attitudes towards sexuality.
Jason was awarded the Victorian Young Australian of the Year in 2016 and is a beyondblue Ambassador.
WSC is very proud of the respect, understanding and support our students showed towards not only Jason but all members of our diverse College Community.