There are so many angles I could have taken in regards to yesterday afternoon’s Instagram post by Israel Folau.
The first is the power dynamic within Rugby Australia, and whether Raelene Castle and the rest of the boardroom have the willingness to let go a player so crucial to the Wallabies chances at this year’s World Cup.
Another would have been the player dynamic between an individual such as Folau and more progressive thinker and just as an important player in David Pocock – and what that meant for the squad.
But it was my instant gut reaction, that what I am about to articulate that is the motive for this article.
Please Israel, keep your opinions to yourself, no one wants to hear them!
And to Raelene Castle, it is time to give him the flick.
I say these things not because I worry for the Wallabies brand, or because I worry for the Wallabies squad culture going into this year’s World Cup.
It’s also not because I’m concerned about losing sponsors.
I write this not because of the aforementioned but of what we know regarding the mental health of our gay brothers and sisters.
That’s where my heart went when I read the Folau’s Post, to the LGBTI community who suffer more than most.
A recent study revealed several things about the position of LGBTI people in society.
LGBTI young people are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition, six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and five times more likely to make an attempt on their life than their heterosexual peers.
Stigma and prejudice have been associated with a shorter life expectancy of approximately 12 years for sexual minorities living in high-prejudice communities.
Harassment or abuse against LGBT people is an indicator of poorer mental health, with those experiencing harassment or abuse reporting higher levels of psychological distress.
To those that will defend Israel Folau, please consider the above first. Just as he has freedom of speech, we all have freedom to denounce those comments and call for his instant banishment from the game.
To the LGTBI community, as your humble amateur sports columnist I stand with you against prejudice. Unlike thieves, adulterers etc you were born that way.
Unlike thieves and adulterers you should be proud of who you are! And I tell you speaking with the authority of a lapsed Catholic if there is a heaven or a hell, a gay man, woman or transgender person will not be judged on their sexuality or identity but based on how we all will be judged.
That is by how much love we show each other.