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Eammon Ashton-Atkinson — Meet the Player in the World's First Gay Rugby Team

Joe Akins
Nov 16, 2020
10:00 A.M.
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Australian journalist and rugby enthusiast, Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, is very proud of his sexuality and did not hesitate to share the story of the world's first gay rugby team after joining them.

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Eammon Ashton-Atkinson is many things rolled into one. For starters, he is of Australian and Malaysian ancestry. After moving to Queensland with his family in 2002, he studied law at Griffith University and graduated in 2008.

In 2010, he became a solicitor after practicing law in Sydney. He also tutored at Bond University. Three years afterward, he began a career in journalism as a cadet reporter for Channel 7.

The World’s First Gay Rugby Club Director Eammon Ashton-Atkinson introduces his film to audiences watching from Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival At Home | Photo: Youtube/ NZIntFilmFestival

The World’s First Gay Rugby Club Director Eammon Ashton-Atkinson introduces his film to audiences watching from Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival At Home | Photo: Youtube/ NZIntFilmFestival

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In 2016, Eammon moved to London, where he set up a production company that dealt with corporate video production. He set up the company while producing for Al Jazeera and ITV's "Good Morning Britain."

A year after that, Eammon joined Australia's Network 10, becoming its London-based European correspondent. He moved to New York City in 2019, where he took up the role of the Network's US correspondent.

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Eammon made waves this year after he wrote, produced, directed, and edited "Steeler: The World's First Gay Rugby Club." The film, which is his first feature film, has played in the film festivals of eight countries.

One of the festivals it played in is the New Zealand International and Queer Screen Film Fest (Sydney). There, the film won the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Eammon found himself in the news in July last year after he lost his wedding ring down a drain.

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In the film, Eammon told the story of the Steelers, the world's first gay team, which helped him rediscover his love for the game and discover himself.

In an article for The Guardian, Eammon narrated his struggle with bullying in school when a friend of his outed him as homosexual. He also disclosed how he had suicidal thoughts over his sexuality.

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However, after reading former Wallaby Dan Palmer's brave coming out article, Eammon was filled with courage. He was even more surprised when he heard about The Kings Cross Steelers, a rugby club in London.

After joining, he found a place he belonged to. Following Australian professional rugby league player, Israel Folau's, controversial hate posts about gays, Eammon realized he had to tell his story and the club's story to the world, as it was there he found his happiness.

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The Kings Cross Steelers is an amazing club and was founded in 1995. It has helped many gays find their confidence, and they channel that confidence into rugby games.

It was at the club Eammon met and married his husband, John Ashton. The couple tied the knot in 2018 and in a funny twist of events, Eammon found himself in the news in July last year after he lost his wedding ring down a drain.

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Determined not to give up on the prized possession, Eammon, who admitted he was fiddling with the ring before it fell off a restaurant table, went to the fire station to seek their help in opening the drain.

They came by and opened the drain for him. After going through about 30 handfuls of sewage sludge, the reporter found his ring to his utmost delight. Following that incident, one might well add "ring hunter" to Eammon's list of attributes.

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