Earlier this month, Australian rugby standout Israel Follau said he believes gay people who don’t repent will go to hell, leading to calls for his firing.
Follau has since doubled down on his statement, saying he would sooner end his career than take back what he said.
LGBT and ally rugby fans have continued to criticize Follau, as well Rugby Australia for essentially looking the other way at his homophobic rhetoric.
But that doesn’t mean no ones doing anything about it: This week, former bobsledder Simon Dunn clapped back at Follau, and the rest of the homophobic haters out there, by sharing a sweet photo of himself kissing boyfriend Felix after a rugby match victory.
Victory kiss. pic.twitter.com/REvhoUN2bX
— Simon Dunn (@BySimonDunn) April 22, 2018
The couple play together on the Kings Cross Steelers, an inclusive rugby team in London. After initially posting it on Sunday, Dunn retweeted the image on Monday, this time tagging Follau.
— Simon Dunn (@BySimonDunn) April 23, 2018
“Unfortunately the sporting world is still a place where kissing my partner after our team’s victory is still seen as an act of defiance or rebellion,” Dunn told Gay Times. “It’s an environment where someone’s homophobic comments can be defended as ‘just his opinion’ and that truly is worrying.”
“I’ve devoted my life to sport, and as an out and proud athlete I’ll continue to do what is natural for me,” he added, “and hopefully break down stereotypes in the process.”
After the smooch went viral, Dunn said it reminded of why visibility is so important.
Great to see the community get behind this. I’ve received just as much hate (if not more) as I have support for this picture. Which only shows me we have a lot of work to do before homophobia in sport is a thing of the past! https://t.co/YrclO1KtZv
— Simon Dunn (@BySimonDunn) April 24, 2018
“I’ve received just as much hate (if not more) as I have support for this picture,” he wrote. “Which only shows me we have a lot of work to do before homophobia in sport is a thing of the past!”
Also this week, All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team, launched “Diversity Is Strength,” a campaign celebrating equality and diversity and signaling LGBT fans and players are welcome in the sport.
As players march on the field to reveal rainbow stripes on their uniforms, a narrator warns that discrimination is “an enemy that cannot be fought alone, it must be defeated together. It will take more than 15, it will takes thousands, millions.”
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) April 23, 2018