As yet Australia doesn’t have a professional football player in any variety of football who is in first grade and an out gay or bi man. It’s a sad thing but not unusual in the world at large. What is unusual is that we did at one stage have an elite level Rugby League player who was out.

In 1995 a player called Ian Roberts, at the tail end of his career, confirmed what had been long rumoured, that he was gay. He retired shortly after but he was a great player and it was big news at the time. This was over 20 years before marriage equality finally came in to being.

Two or three years after him coming out and before my own coming out, I was living in a beach suburb of Sydney and was walking down the street and he was walking down the street too. The man was enormous. He was in his physical prime at about 30 years of age and he was just wearing some athletic shorts that could barely contain his thighs.

This weekend just past I was at the cafe downstairs from my apartment and he turned up with his long term partner and some friends and at the age of 54 now he looks pretty bloody great. He’s never been a pretty boy in the face but his body is still that of a much younger man and a bit more athletic than it was after his retirement when he got even bigger than when he was playing football.

Seeing him took me straight back to that day walking down the street when I was, in hindsight, already brewing on my sexuality and remembering how impressed I was at the physical perfection he was at the time.

When he came out he posed for Paul Freeman nude in a gay art magazine of the era. Sadly I can’t seem to find any of the more revealing photos online at the moment. They were beautiful photos and it looked like he was pretty much in proportion from memory.