Being gay doesn’t define me, but it is part of who I am, and I’m proud to be myself.
Jason Ball is the 2017 Young Australian of the Year for Victoria, best known as the pioneering LGBTQI+ advocate who in 2012 became the first male Aussie Rules footballer at any level of the game to publicly come out as gay in the national media. Jason used this platform to launch a campaign to challenge homophobia in sport and drive cultural change within the AFL.
Since taking that stand, Jason has become a national figurehead on combating homophobia in sport and highlighting the damaging impact of discrimination on the mental health and well-being of the LGBTQI+ community.
His story was the inspiration behind the AFL’s world-first ‘Pride Game’ played between St Kilda and Sydney in the 2016 Premiership Season. In his role as an ambassador for beyondblue and the Safe Schools Coalition he has shared his story with thousands of people in schools, workplaces and sporting clubs across the country.
In 2018 Jason founded Pride Cup Australia, a non-profit organisation with a goal to foster LGBTIQ+ inclusion by rolling out pride-themed sporting events and education programs. Within its first year, the organisation raised more than halk a million from a mix of government, corporate and philanthropic sources. This year there are more than 50 communities across Australia holding a Pride Cup.