Megan Schutt lashes fans for saying ‘lesbians are predators’ ahead of T20 Cricket World Cup semi
Aussie cricket superstar Megan Schutt has a simple answer when people question why LGBTQI+ athletes come out or share their lives on social media like any straight person would: because ‘there’s still some kids who would rather be dead than gay’.
The 30-year-old fast bowler, who is married with one child, has always been one of Australia’s most outspoken female athletes when it comes to inclusivity and gay rights – and the fact she is about to lead the side’s attack into a T20 World Cup semi-final isn’t changing that.
It means she is often squarely in the firing line for trolls on social media, which she often acknowledges and calls out.
But this isn’t a case of water off a duck’s back. It’s more like a mighty duck donning a helmet and wading into battle armed, determined to turn the tide of homophobia that still runs rampant through sport.
Lesbian athletes, in particular, are subject to cruel stereotypes and vile trolling; and given that there is a high proportion of gay women involved in female cricket, Schutt wants more to be done to make the sport more inclusive.
Megan Schutt with wife Jess and daughter Rylee after the Aussie quick played a game in the ODI World Cup in New Zealand last year
Schutt and wife Jess, pictured at the 2017 Allan Border Medal, got married in 2019
The star quick, pictured celebrating a wicket against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup on February 11, is determined to fight homophobia in sport and society
One thing that particularly ‘infuriates’ Schutt, the world’s no. 5 ranked bowler in T20 cricket with a phenomenal 122 wickets from 94 matches in the format, is people linking homosexuality and pedophilia.
‘Some a**holes can say the things like, ‘you’ve been coerced because your teammates are same sex’. Coercion – everyone in cricket is gay, that’s why you’re gay,’ she told NewsCorp.
‘That comes back to thinking that gay is a choice. Which, obviously, it is not.
‘The coercion one used to piss me off the most, because it is also implying lesbians are predators and that we’re just out there to turn all these straight young girls into lesbians.
‘That one infuriates me because that goes down to some really deep roots in thinking homosexuals are pedophiles,’ said Schutt.
Schutt specifically took aim at the seven Manly players who refused to wear the club’s rainbow jersey last year after claiming being gay was a ‘lifestyle choice’
She told Daily Mail Australia the Manly players’ comments were ‘insulting’, taking umbrage at those involved in sport, and society, who say gay people should not proudly profess their sexuality because ‘no one cares’.
‘The old standard reply when someone comes out with ‘it’s 2023, no one cares, you don’t need to come out’ … actually, it does f***ing matter, because there’s still kids out there that would rather be dead than gay,’ she said.
‘(Coming out) isn’t for the everyday fan, it’s for the other folk in the closet that need this s**t to feel like they’re human.’
Schutt, wife Jess and daughter Rylee enjoy beach time in her native Adelaide when not touring the world with the Aussie side
There’s always a smile on Schutt’s face when she is playing cricket – and she and Alyssa Healy (pictured left) are two of the most popular figures in female cricket
This is exactly why it is important to Schutt to speak up about homophobic behaviour, and express her sexuality in the only way she knows how: openly and honestly.
The star quick, who was named in the ICC Team of the Decade, married long-time partner Jess Holyoake (now Schutt) in 2019, and the pair have a one-year-old daughter, Rylee.
‘Shooter’, as she is known, is one of the most popular figures in Aussie cricket, is one of the funniest characters you’ll ever meet. But underlying her self-deprecating demeanour she also has a fierce desire to be a role model.
She was one of the most vocal athletes trying to secure the yes vote in the same-sex marriage debate, famously telling those against it ‘if you don’t want gay marriage then don’t get gay married’.
Schutt and her wife were also very open and honest about the difficulties of IVF and dealing with Rylee’s tough start to life, after she was born 11 weeks premature.
That honesty was again on display when she appeared to take a stunning broadside at Cricket Australia, slamming the governing body for not doing enough to promote LGBTQI+ rights.
‘I don’t really like half-a**ed diversity. It’s great Cricket Australia goes with Pride month. They change their logo for a month on twitter and that’s great. But they’re not probably doing enough outside of that to continue that inclusivity,’ she told News Corp.
‘The Cairns basketball team didn’t want to wear their logo – that’s where CA can jump in and say, ‘well hang on, we’re inclusive and this is what we’re going to do.
‘If I did have the chance to talk to Nick Hockley (CA chief executive), I’d love to talk about that.
‘It doesn’t have to be an entire (Pride) shirt. But imagine, the Pride flag. Not just the rainbow, but the proper one, the trans-inclusive, everything inclusive flag.
‘Put that on the collar or the sleeve and keep it constant.
‘We’ve finally got there and put the Walkabout Wickets logo to do with our indigenous background. And how many years has that taken. That’s a constant now on every single jersey, the way it should be.
‘Why can’t we do something similar in terms of Pride stuff?’ said Schutt.
Megan Schutt said it is important for her to be open about her sexuality to fight homophobia and be a role model for young people who are ‘in the closet’
‘Shooter’ was also open about her and Jess’ struggles with IVF and the premature birth of their daughter, Rylee
The incident Schutt referenced in the NBL recently flew directly in the face of openly gay player Isaac Humphries, who slammed his opponents for their lack of inclusion, saying he was ‘disappointed for my LGBTQ+ family of athletes and coaches who live silently in the closet’.
For their part, Cricket Australia told Daily Mail Australia that they welcome Schutt’s stance against homophobia.
‘We appreciate Megan’s leadership on pride and her contributions to the game. Our vision is to be a sport for all that makes Australians proud and we have committed to championing inclusion,’ Megan Barnett-Smith, the head of social impact and sustainability said.
‘Cricket Australia is a member of Pride and Sport. We have polices, guidelines and initiatives regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in community and elite cricket as well as across our workforce.’
The game’s governing body in Australia also has a number of transgender and gay policies in place, while some Big Bash clubs have held pride matches – which Cricket Australia thoroughly supports.
You only have to look at some of the vile commentary that Schutt cops for her stance against homophobia to know that society still has a way to go.
A fired up Megan Schutt celebrates a wicket against New Zealand earlier in the tournament
Schutt celebrated with wife Jess and hoards of close confidantes of the Aussie team after they won the 2020 T20 World Cup final in front of 90,000 people at the MCG
Schutt continues to cop homophobic abuse on social media, and while she can handle it most of the time, sometimes it just gets too much.
‘Sometimes I don’t/can’t shrug it (online gay hate) off; they’re just hard days,’ she said.
‘But I try to remember sometimes that a lot of people either haven’t had any experiences with gay/minority groups so haven’t had their thoughts challenged (which most don’t like) – or have never been able to empathise/show feelings and unfortunately that mostly comes out with anger.
‘Most people fear what they don’t understand and some just can’t fathom sexuality – they can’t fathom someone being different from them.
‘When it’s just vile hate – that’s when I know they’re just a f***ed up person beyond repair,’ said the always defiant Schutt.
But for now the all-conquering Aussie team are focused squarely on taking on India in the T20 World Cup semi-final on Friday morning (AEST), as they look to defend their title.
Source of data and images: dailymail