"GAYME ON" for NRL at Mardi Gras
NSW Rugby League’s Paul Langmack will carry the NSW VB Blues flag at this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, joining Rugby League greats including Wendell Sailor, Mario Fenech, Nigel Vagana and Dan Hunt on the inaugural NRL "GAYME ON" float.
Backed by the NRL, NSWRL CEO David Trodden, Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib and CEO Raelene Castle, the three-time premiership winner with Canterbury will spearhead the maiden NRL float on Saturday night (5 March) in a bid to stamp out homophobia in Rugby League.
Also joining Langmack on the float is Castle, former NRL players Jason King and Dean Widders, Jillaroos representative Ruan Sims and 16 cheerleaders representing each club from the NRL.
Langmack, a marriage equality ambassador, was part of last year’s Anti-homophobia in Sport float and has been the driving force behind this year’s initiative, along with NRL Welfare and Education Manager Paul Heptonstall.
“If we can help one person in the NRL community to feel comfortable, whether gay, lesbian or transgender, that would be fantastic,” Langmack said.
“This is Rugby League and we stand by our team-mates on or off the field no matter their sexuality.
“There are so many people struggling with this issue that if a game like ours can say that it’s okay to be the person you are, then maybe we can improve their wellbeing and hopefully reduce the rates of suicide and self-harm.”
The NRL float will feature astro turf, goalposts lit with the colours of the rainbow simulating a Rugby League field, a tribute to Tina Turner and will also carry the tagline "GAYME ON – Pride In League".
Saturday's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will officially commence at 7.45pm with Langmack’s NRL "GAYME ON" float estimated to enter the parade at 9.08pm.