Sam Bremner of the Blues is tackled during the Women's State of Origin match between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons at North Sydney Oval in Sydney, Friday, June 22, 2018. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Sam Bremner of the Blues is tackled during the Women's State of Origin match between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons at North Sydney Oval in Sydney, Friday, June 22, 2018. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY CRAIG GOLDING

OPINION: Time to back our words up with actions

FRIDAY night marked a historic night in the Australian sporting landscape.

The first ever women's State of Origin match saw the New South Wales Blues defeat our gallant Queensland Maroons in a tense and physical encounter at North Sydney Oval.

The occasion marked a giant leap forward not only for the game of rugby league, but for women's sport in Australia.

You may be forgiven for missing the result however, with all the post-game talk surrounding a photo circulated widely by the NRL's social channels of two players kissing.

For a country which has recently passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry, the response to the image has been somewhat perplexing.

Some fans of the game have lashed out at the image, labelling it a "bad move" and calling it "sexualisation" of the women's game.

In late 2017, over 60 per cent of Australians voted yes in a postal survey in favour of same-sex marriage, acknowledging our country's acceptance of same-sex couples.

So why, after our democratic process signalled our acceptance of these relationships, and months of campaigning saw the large majority of society rally in support of equality, are we complaining about an open display of this love on the sporting field?

To those whinging about these pictures, the simple reality is they are here to stay, and we need to be embrace them as normality.

Whether you like it or not, our society has decided this is OK and so we must treat it as such.

The photograph and the night when it was taken has given us the opportunity to embrace two important social changes - gender equality and marriage equality.

We've voted in favour of both, so it's time to put our money where our mouth is and ensure our actions speak louder than our words.

I hope this photograph stands as a reminder to all that we are a welcoming country of love, support and respect, but most importantly, equality.

- Matt Taylor, photojournalist



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