AFL HIV LGBTIQ Sport

Matt Hall paved the way as the first openly gay Aussie rules player

Blue Magazine wrote an article about pioneering gay sportsman Matt Hall prior to his partaking in Sydney’s Gay Games in 2002 as a basketballer.

In the landmark article he talked about some of the landmark moments in his life, including his heterosexual marriage before he came out as a gay man, his car accident where he had to recover from injuries and for the first time felt mortal in his life.

The Beyond Blue ambassador also discussed how he was raped as a naive young man while in Europe and through that unfortunate encounter acquired HIV. This led him on a journey where he and other HIV positive sportspeople won the right to continue playing their chosen sport through his bravery and his landmark winning court case at that time.

He could continue to play on, as the drugs he was taking to counter HIV made them undetectable and therefore he couldn’t pass HIV onto anyone else while living his day-to-day life, which included the sport he loved playing at the time.

He was informed about his positive HIV status, while playing Aussie Rules football for Old Ivanhoe Grammarians football club, the senior club, where he and fellow Old Boys of Ivanhoe Grammar School gathered with others to play in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

It was hard enough being out to others with his positive HIV status and some of his teammates (but not all) abandoned the tough and physical player during this time.

At that time it would’ve been near impossible for him to be out as a gay man, considering he’d already been ostracised by some in his social circle due to his HIV status.

So his incredible coming out story through Blue magazine was a blessing for gay sporting people in Australia and worldwide.

Hall said the 2nd openly gay Aussie Rules player in Jason Ball has “erased my own” legacy by “him continuing to claim he was the first to come out despite it being a decade later in 2012.”

Hall thinks it would be nice if Ball actually acknowledged his pioneering work in this space (during the pre social media era in 2002), which afforded Ball the opportunity to publicly come out while he was still playing (unlike Hall who couldn’t come out while he played due to societal constraints).

This allowed for Ball’s teammates to have an inclusive attitude, as they embraced him when he came out a decade later.

Blue Magazine’s copy of Matt Hall’s story including the cover and index:

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