Jason Ball is the 2017 Young Australian of the Year for Victoria, honouring his work as a passionate community advocate for LGBTI equality and mental health.
Since coming out publicly in 2012, Jason has become a national figurehead on combating homophobia in sport and highlighting the damaging impact of homophobia on the mental health and wellbeing of the LGBTI community.
This leadership has seen Jason take up ambassadorial roles at beyondblue and the Safe Schools Coalition, sharing his story of coming out with thousands of people in schools, workplaces and sporting clubs.
Jason’s grassroots activism was the catalyst behind the AFL’s first ever ‘Pride Game’ played between St Kilda and Sydney in Round 21 of the 2016 Premiership season. The match was the first of its kind for a professional sporting competition in the world, and saw the 50m lines at Etihad Stadium painted in rainbow colours as a gesture of acceptance and inclusion for the LGBTI community within the AFL.
As a spokesperson for LGBTI equality Jason has appeared widely in the media including on The Project, Sunrise, The Morning Show, FoxFooty, The Age, The Herald Sun, 774 Melbourne, 3AW, ABC Radio National, SEN, triple j, VICE Magazine, Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.
In 2012 Jason was included in The Age’s Top 100 Most Influential Melburnians and was featured among The Advocate’s Top 25 Most Notable Comings Out of 2012. He was named LGBTI Sports Person of the Year at the 2015 GLOBE Community Awards and was a finalist for LGBTI Person of the Year at the same event.
In 2016 Jason was honoured by the University of Melbourne with the Arts Alumni Rising Star Award and the Council of Australian Humanist Societies named Jason as the 2016 Young Australian Humanist of the Year.
Pop culture and news website Junkee included Jason in ‘The Disruptors’, their list of thirty people “changing the game for young Australia” and Men’s Style Magazine included Jason in their ‘Men of Influence’ list for 2017. Most recently, Jason was presented with the Out Role Model Award for Sport in the 2017 Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards hosted by Pride In Diversity.
In 2016 Jason stood as a candidate for the Greens in the Federal seat of Higgins, where he increased the Greens vote by almost 9%. His campaign focused on climate change, asylum seekers, science, mental health and marriage equality. Jason has come a long way since working as part of the Committee for the 2010 Global Atheist Convention, The Rise of Atheism!