IT WAS an interview that appeared to be familiar for a football star during journalist Sam Lane and ex-footballer Sharni Norder’s episode of The W with Carlton’s gun forward Darcy Vescio.
Vescio was soon to be fighting off tears however, after Lane asked them what life has been like since that defining day in December where the footballer revealed they were non-binary.
They were at first calm and collected when discussing how they arrived at the realisation of who they were, saying that they didn’t feel trapped by their identity.
“I’d never really thought about my gender identity until the last couple of years,” Vescio said.
“It was more something that when I thought about it and said in my mind ‘that actually makes a lot of sense to me’.”
Vescio said that once they had made the decision, they weren’t worried about telling their family.
“It’s been a real nice sort of period for me, being able to share that with other people,” they said.
“I talked to my partner and then I was bursting to tell other people.”
It was from there where Vescio began to speak about their feelings in a touchingly honest way as the tears began to flow for themselves alongside the hosts.
The AFLW record goalkicker spoke about the public’s reaction to their video, saying that while the vast majority of messages were positive, there were definitely some negative ones too.
“I’ve of course gotten some pretty shitty messages, but I’ve ended up deleting and blocking people because I just don’t feel like I can entertain those discussions,” they said.
Vescio is the second AFLW player to announce their gender after Gold Coast Sun Tori Groves-Little came out through Instagram in October.
Carlton’s co-vice-captain said that Groves-Little’s experience when announcing that they were non-binary helped them to do the same.
“They had come out months earlier on their Instagram, but then they had the article with the AFLW, I think it was a week before I did,” they said.
“I messaged them straight away, because I was so happy seeing that they’d shared that, and it made a really big difference to how I felt.”
Vescio kept battling on despite breaking up, saying that the experience has taught them to accept that they are in a very emotional time.
“I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much in my life,” they said before having a chuckle.
“I guess there is just a lot of big feelings happening at the moment, and it also feel like it has released a lot of, I don’t know if it would be pressure, but it kind of feels like in a lot of other areas in my life I feel like a lot more open.”
“It’s been a really big release for me and I’m getting used to just crying a lot more and being okay with that.”
Vescio is aware of the importance of these moments in sport, especially with players and personalities becoming very pre-packaged in the industry. They believe that for fans to see players show real emotion in front of camera reminds them that they are also human.
It was clear that Vescio continues to deal with the public nature of an aspect in their life that is so private, but with their courage, they continue to make it known what a non-binary person’s life is like so that anyone else who feels a similar way can find that same bravery.
“You are enabling these conversations to happen that wouldn’t be happening without you doing that and it is a big load to carry for one person and I would just like to say that I think you have done a bloody fantastic job,” Norder told Vescio.
Benjamin Hann is a student at La Trobe University, undergoing his Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism). He is currently undertaking an internship at the Carlton Football Club as part of its partnership with La Trobe University.