Winmar's Proud Stance

Article by Ben Guthrie originally appeared on

St Kilda legend Nicky Winmar has taken the second strong stance of his life, standing proudly beside his gay son Tynan.

Famous for standing up to racism in sport, with his iconic gesture at Victoria Park in 1993 becoming part of footy folklore, Winmar is now playing a key role in the lead-up to Saturday's Pride Game.

Winmar has revealed he was not always accepting of his gay son.

But after the 50-year-old suffered a heart attack in 2012, Tynan sought to reconcile his strained relationship with his father.

Nicky Winmar said he was "proud" of his son in a revealing video introduced by renowned comedian and personality Magda Szubanski.

"Dad always said to be proud of who and what you are, no matter what. We're not here forever so you've got to be as proud for as long as you can," Winmar said.

"I am who I am and I am proud of my stance on racism in sport. I'm proud to be a father to my son who's gay and I just want to support him and his friends and anyone else out there as much as I can."

Given his family name, Tynan said he had difficulty in getting people to understand his sexual orientation.

"For a long time I didn't understand how I felt. I had a bit of resentment towards how I felt towards other people and I was little angry," Tynan said.

"It was very hard to accept who I was because I felt like there was an image I needed to portray being the son of a famous AFL player – especially someone so iconic."

In line with Saturday night's Pride Game between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium, Nicky Winmar said there was no shame in being gay.

"There are a lot of people affected by it and hurt by it who are still not coming out and being open about it – don't be scared," he said.

Winmar said the difficulties he experienced rising through the football ranks as an indigenous Australian are comparable to people who are frightened to reveal they are homosexual.

"A lot of footy players wouldn't play because of the colour of their skin and go home," Winmar said.

"There were a lot of footy players who didn't fulfil their potential and just walked away from it. They've got to be treated as human beings and in the right way."

Tynan said it was important to make others aware of people's different situations and backgrounds.

"Like that stance Dad took at Victoria Park (23 years ago), I think if you create that one awareness moment I think it then becomes a conversation," Tynan said.

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