Gus John­ston Low­ers His Guard

Hello Mr. Magazine - - CHALLENGE TRADITION - In­ter­view by Tom Mcll­roy pho­tos by Nathan Mal­lon

He’s im­me­di­ately rec­og­niz­able in the busy Mel­bourne café. Paus­ing at var­i­ous ta­bles to find the stranger about to in­ter­view him, for­mer Aus­tralian field hockey player Gus John­ston smiles broadly through a neat beard, dressed in the rum­pled el­e­gance of a sport coat and col­lared shirt. His red hair stylishly pre­pared around a thick cowlick, John­ston low­ers an ath­letic body into the seat and an­nounces him­self. “Hi, I’m Gus.” It is now more than a year since the for­mer Vic­to­rian goal­keeper de­cided to let down his nat­u­ral de­fense and break a long held si­lence about be­ing gay. Shar­ing – in quick suc­ces­sion – his sex­u­al­ity with fam­ily, team­mates, and the world, John­ston’s on­line video about ho­mo­pho­bia in con­tem­po­rary sport caught the at­ten­tion of a wide range of au­di­ences around the world.

For the pre­vi­ously pri­vate and self-con­scious ath­lete, what came next was a new­found role as an ev­ery­day ad­vo­cate and cam­paigner, an in­ter­locu­tor be­tween lan­guages and mind­sets.

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