Pride Month is about celebrating the LGBT+ community, listening to their voices, and sharing their stories, so this week we spoke with senior women’s player Ruby Walker about her pride journey.
“To me, Pride Month is a time to educate, reflect and celebrate the current world we all live in, which includes LGBT+ people.”
“It is about celebrating ‘pride’ as a concept, and to me it means having the strength and ability to present to the world as your most authentic self, whether gay, straight or other. Finding personal strength is so powerful.”
Growing up, Ruby tried a host of sports from gymnastics, to cheerleading, to soccer, but finally found her passion when she started football at 15 years old. She has now been part of the St Mary’s family for 5 seasons and counting!
“I still remember my first game. I was so nervous and shy as I had never played before.”
“A few minutes into the first quarter the ball landed in my hands and I kicked a goal!”
“My new teammates ran up and congratulated me, one of them, who is still my great mate today, wrapped her arm around my shoulders and told me how proud she was.”
“That was the first time I felt like I could achieve anything with my team by my side.”
“I’ve never looked back since that first game.”
LGBT+ inclusion in sport still has a long way to go, but one of the ways we can start to improve is sharing LGBT+ voices and stories, and luckily Ruby has shared her journey with us in the hopes it will help others do the same.
“I identify as female and use the she/her pronouns. As for my sexuality I describe myself as being attracted to anyone; I don’t stop myself from being with someone based on their gender.”
While Ruby is open now, it wasn’t always this way and it still isn’t for many people, particularly in sports.
“It was pretty hard getting to the point I am at today where I can easily state my sexuality.”
“I did face some bullying after coming out while I was in school, and there is still a lot of stigma and stereotype at play based on sexuality, especially for women’s footy players.”
“I am feminine presenting, and often have people tell me they wouldn’t have guessed based on my appearance that I am attracted to women.”
“What people need to understand is that identifying a certain way doesn’t change who you are overall.”
While Ruby has a great supportive family and team here at St Mary’s, she recognises that not everyone is as privileged and hopes this changes in the future.
“I am very grateful to have a supporting family, friends, and wider network of people. It is important for us all to recognise the privilege we hold in our freedoms as Australian citizens.”
“I know that I’m also incredibly fortunate that my football team is so accepting, and I have not had to face discrimination but unfortunately not all LGBT+ people are so lucky.”
“Improving LGBT+ inclusion in sport will come with time, but we all need to contribute, and it starts by listening to LGBT+ voices and speaking up when something is wrong.”
Ruby is also very passionate about helping others who may be facing challenges related to their sexuality. If you ever need to talk, reach out and she is happy to help.
If you need professional support, contact QLife on 1800 184 527 or Queerspace on 03 9663 6733 or via web chat.