Podcast #10: Jason Ball

Jason Ball is best known as the pioneering LGBTI advocate who in 2012 became the first Aussie Rules footballer at any level of the game to publicly come out as gay. Ball used this platform to launch a national campaign to challenge homophobia in sport and drive cultural change that has led to major advances in the AFL’s commitment to creating a more inclusive environment for all players and supporters.

Since taking that stand, Jason has became a national figurehead on matters relating to homophobia in sport, shining a light on the devastating impact that discrimination has on the mental health and well-being of young people who are same-sex attracted and gender diverse. One of the key initiatives driven by Jason has been the Pride Cup, an annual country football match to celebrate diversity and promote LGBTI inclusion. As part of this event, Ball has fostered partnerships with the AFL, Netball Australia, the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and VicHealth, with major sponsorship from local government, NAB and Ernst & Young. This event, which brought together for the first time the LGBTI community and the football world, has been such a success that the AFL is looking to take the model to scale at a national level.

In 2013, Jason was appointed an ambassador for BeyondBlue, to speak about issues of mental health, in schools, sporting clubs and at conferences around Australia. He is also highly sought after in the corporate world, and has delivered keynote addresses to numerous ASX Top 100 companies including ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie Group and Westpac. He was also a speaker at the 2014 Amnesty International Human Rights Conference.

In 2014, Jason became the first ambassador for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, a national program that aims to make schools more inclusive for LGBTI youth. Jason joined the Greens in 2010 after being inspired by Adam Bandt’s successful campaign for the seat of Melbourne on a platform of action on climate change, compassion for refugees and marriage equality. In 2015, Jason embarks on a new journey to be the next Member of Parliament for the electorate of Higgins.