‘Like a second coming out’: Izzy Hodgson on being a queer footballer

Izzy Hodgson captain of Adelaide United
Image: Adelaide United

Adelaide United’s team captain Izzy Hodgson discusses the important legacy of queer women in football in the wake of Josh Cavallo’s one-year anniversary of his own viral coming-out video.

Speaking to QNews, Hodgson talks about how Cavallo’s coming-out has ignited the conversation around queer representation in football, and almost felt like her own “second coming out”.

Despite coming out at 18, Izzy’s sexuality has only recently been brought to the forefront after becoming more public with her relationships online and captaining Adelaide United’s Inaugural Pride Round.

Reflecting upon her initial coming-out, Izzy says,

Fortunately enough, when I was 18 or 19, Adelaide United probably wasn’t as public and as popular as it is now. 

“Social media also wasn’t really as big as it is now. So I kept it very close, I told the people around me – my family, my friends, and then it just grew casually over time.”

Hodgson, now 26, first decided to come out after entering her first serious relationship.

I maybe had worked it out a little bit earlier, but didn’t want to say anything until I was sure.

“All these things go through your head at a younger age of what is really happening, ‘Is it just a phase?’, ‘Is it just this one person?’.

“But once I had my first serious relationship with a girl, I was like, ‘Okay, I need to tell my friends and family’.”

Queer women have always been in football

Despite football always being a safety net for Hodgson, homophobia permeates every corner of queer communities – football being no exception.

“I’m a pretty confident person now, confident in myself. But when you’re 14 or 16, and you’re playing football a lot it can be quite different.

“Wanting to play out in the field with the boys all the time, people would say, ‘Oh, maybe it’s because she is a boy’, all those kinds of things.

Despite this, Hodgson says, the women’s league was still an affirming environment. This was because, unlike Cavallo’s experience in the Men’s League, queer representation has been ever-present throughout her football career.

“When I was 17, there were openly gay players on my team who were in their late 20s, early 30s, and who were married and had kids,” Hodgson recalls.

“There have always been queer women in football before me.

“So I’ve always had those kinds of role models from early on, I’ve always had the people before me that kind of made it easier for me because they had done it before.

“But I think now there’s a lot less stigma around it. It’s more accepted now.”

Queer pride, on and off the field

Izzy Hodgson was appointed captain of Adelaide United’s A-League team in December of 2021, ahead of their 2022/21 season.

Three months afterwards, in February of this year, Adelaide United announced the launch of the first inaugural A-Leagues Pride Game.

Just being given the captaincy in general, I was speechless.

“But for the club to then announce the first Pride Round – I was so excited and so honoured, it was such a privilege.

“I was able to not only be a part of this Pride Round, but lead my team out of the tunnels with the rainbow numbers on our back, rainbow armbands and walk out to Cooper stadium being absolutely covered in rainbow flares and rainbow flags. That was amazing.

“And we also won the game that took us into the final so it was just an all round fantastic experience.”

Izzy Hodgson is Feast Festival ambassador

Izzy Hodgson was selected to be an ambassador for this year’s Feast Festival in Adelaide, which Izzy is no stranger to.

“It was a bit of a surreal experience, because I’ve been going to Feast Festival’s Picnic in the Park with my friends almost every year for seven years. 

“So yeah, it was pretty surreal to be asked to be an ambassador for it.”

As for the future of queer representation in football, Izzy remains very hopeful.

“At the moment, it’s just Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory hosting pride rounds. In the future, I’d like to see league-wide pride rounds.

“I hope that would be the next step as a way to kind of be more accepting as a league rather than just as individual clubs. So I hope that’s something that they try and do in the future.”

Feast Festival runs from the 5th-22nd of November. To find out more about what’s on at Feast Festival and to book tickets, head to Feast.org.au.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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