In the early days my journey, after coming out and living full time as Michelle, I happened to make a new close friendship with Jason Tuazon-McCheyne. We briefly bumped into one another at Carnival in 2015 but it wasn’t until we came on ‘In the Spotlight’ at Joy 94.9, one week as a panel of community leaders discussing topics around the transgender community, that we really got to know one another. We discussed my struggles as a parent, and my reluctant feelings toward going out to the footy because of fear of abuse from homophobia.
We bonded instantly and found we both had crossed each other’s paths in my home state of Missouri where I had grown up and where he attended University. After that we started attending the footy together with his husband and friends as well as other events such as the launch of the purple bombers which he founded.
This friendship helped me become closer to a game I had followed for 14 years. A game which is ingrained in the culture of Melbourne. It wasn’t until we met that I actually felt a part of the game and welcome by friends to these events.
Jason had his footy story published recently in the book mentioned below and I had never known that I was actually a pivotal part of his relationship with footy as he was in mine and he talked about this.
Here is the books description.
From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It
“A celebration of our great game, From the Outer brings together 30 personal stories about Aussie Rules from unexpected voices: those who are female, Indigenous or gay; those with a disability, a foreign accent or even – perhaps most dubious of all – literary leanings.
Some are closet fans, some are out and proud. Many are ground-breaking and revolutionary, shaking up the institution that has dominated cultural life in Melbourne, and much of Australia, for generations. Some are actively involved in the game, such as Leila Gurruwiwi, panelist on Australia’s first all-Indigenous footy show; Angela Pippos, one of Australia’s first female sports commentators; and Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, founder of the LGBTI supporter group the Purple Bombers. Others, like Christos Tsiolkas, Sophie Cunningham, Tony Birch and Alice Pung, share their poignant, passionate experiences as spectators and supporters.
Engaging and surprising, From the Outer shows how footy can both thrill and devastate, exclude and unite, by shining a light on the diversity and splendor of the game.