Bill Lockley plays for gay rugby league team Sydney Convicts but is not gay.

Bill Lockley plays for gay rugby team Sydney Convicts but is not gay. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Canberra rugby union player Bill Lockley knows what it's like to be the victim of homophobia and he counts himself lucky to have teammates open-minded enough to accept him for who he is.

But Lockley isn't gay.

The 36-year-old personal trainer commutes up the Hume Highway every weekend to play for the Sydney Convicts – Australia's first gay and inclusive rugby club, which plays in the NSW Suburban Rugby Union.

He thought it was a positive step to have high-profile, past-and-present players like Greg Inglis, Nick Farr-Jones and Mike Pyke on hand as the AFL, ARU, NRL, Football Federation Australia and Cricket Australia signed a commitment to eliminate homophobia in their sports on Wednesday.

It was the brain child of the organisers of the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 – the world cup of gay rugby, which will be held in August.

With the World Cup and Bledisloe residing in New Zealand, the Bingham Cup is the only trophy in the ARU's cabinet, after Lockley and the Convicts won it in Manchester two years ago.

Born in Canada, Lockley also played rugby in England before moving to Sydney in 2005.

He moved to Canberra after his first season with the Convicts, but has continued to commute for eight years.

Lockley felt an attachment to a club that allowed people to be themselves without the pressure of being really blokey and "having to lie about who they are".

He said most clubs treated the Convicts with respect, although he had experienced homophobia.

"I've only once personally heard an anti-gay slur on the field and it was ironically directed at me and one of the other straight guys," Lockley said.

"I found it offensive, but I almost found it more amusing because he couldn't even be an accurate bigot.

"Most of the teams we play against, people don't really care, they want to have a good game."

Despite playing rugby on three continents, it wasn't until after a chat in the gym that he finally felt like he'd found a club he could bleed for.

He remembers getting carried from the field during the 2012 Bingham Cup with blood streaming from both eyes but, three hours later, a stitched-up Lockley played in the final.

Lockley said he wouldn't do that if he didn't love the club.

"I was at the gym one day and I wound up talking to this guy and I mentioned that I played rugby when I was living overseas, but I hadn't found a club and he said, 'I play with the Sydney Convicts ... but I have to warn you most guys on this team are gay'," he said.

"I had no gay friends, I had no exposure to the gay community at all ... they're such a wonderfully open-minded bunch of guys. They accept me even though I'm different."