13/04/2024

Isabel Hodgson, Grace Wilson, Mali Isabel, and Joshua Cavallo launched Adelaide United's Pride Kit. Photo supplied by Adelaide United

Adelaide United goalkeeper Grace Wilson made history on Friday when they revealed their non-binary identity, becoming the A-Leagues first openly non-binary player.

Wilson, who uses they/them pronouns, expressed gratitude for the support received from their teammates, the coaching staff, and the club as a whole.

“This was the first step in my journey, but I had a phenomenal reaction,” they said.

“The girls were lovely about it and I got a hug from every player.

“As soon as I said it, cheers, and applause — it was this lovely thing.

“I felt so comfortable and supported, it was probably one of the best feelings.”

Adelaide United’s head of football, Marius Zanin (he/him), said that the club stands behind Grace wholeheartedly and commended their bravery in sharing their authentic self with the world.

“At Adelaide United, we believe in fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of gender identity.”

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As a club, Adelaide United said they are proud to be championing equality on and off the pitch.

The club also reaffirmed their commitment to creating a safe and supportive space for all players, staff, and fans, while also encouraging everyone to join in celebrating the courage and authenticity of Wilson as they continue to excel in their football career.

Wilson is currently in Uzbekistan with the Young Matildas, who are competing in the U-20 Women’s Asian Cup.

Adelaide United goalkeeper Grace Wilson in the clubs goalkeeper Pride Kit for the 2023/24 season. Photo supplied by Adelaide United

What does Wilson coming out mean for the A-Leagues?

Josh Cavallo became the first openly gay male professional footballer when he came out in 2021, and he did so at Adelaide United.

Isabel Hodgson, who captains the A-League Women side, is also gay, and has been front and centre across the Pride Celebrations at Adelaide United.

The work that Adelaide United have put in can not be discounted in allowing Wilson to come out.

With Wilson coming out, it marks the first time that the A-Leagues have had an openly non-binary player.

What it means is that the competition is ultimately becoming a more accepting league and place for LGBTQIA+ people, including those who are gender-diverse.

It showcases a beacon of visibility and acceptance that other non-binary and/or gender-diverse individuals can look up to.

It shows that the A-Leagues are a safe place for them, both on and off the field.

The A-Leagues have undertaken a big journey since Cavallo came out.

There was the first Pride Games, which were hosted by Adelaide United, before a league wide Pride Celebration in the 2022/23 season, which has continued into the 2023/24 season.

The league has partnered with Pride Cup to deliver workshops and education sessions to players and clubs, and it has also instituted the use of GoBubble technology on social media.

GoBubble works as sort of an automatic filter to hide hateful and abusive remarks, but the league has also evolved, turning off social media comments on X (previously known as Twitter), Instagram, and Facebook, with Adelaide United doing the same.

What all of this shows is that as the A-Leagues evolves as a competition and continues down the path of celebrating Pride, it is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people to be themselves and enjoy the sport of football.

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