Langmack leads NRL's Mardi Gras float
Saturday night's Mardi Gras parade in Sydney will have a very rugby league feel to it, with the NRL set to become the first sporting code in Australia to have its own float in the annual celebration.
This will be the second year in a row rugby league has featured in the annual festival, with ambassadors from swimming, rugby union, the AFL and cricket coming together in 2015 to promote the concept of anti-homophobia in sport.
Paul Langmack was on last year's float, and the three-time premiership-winner with the Bulldogs says the experience was one of the proudest moments of his life.
For the man once dubbed 'Yesterday's Hero', Langmack is still doing some pretty gallant things today. He wants everyone in the rugby league community to know that they should be proud of who they are, and that they have the support of everyone involved in the game.
The NRL's welfare and education forums on homophobia have reached over 5000 players and officials from all walks of rugby league life, but this weekend's spectacle will be it loudest message to fans.
Langmack is thrilled for the NRL to have its own float, but wants everyone to know that the fight for social acceptance will continue long after Saturday's celebrations have ceased.
"We're proud of everyone and we want everyone to feel comfortable," the former NRL great said.
"We're so proud to be a part of the Mardi Gras, but the Mardi Gras is just the icing on the cake. We're not just here to tick a box.
"We're here for our rugby league family and rugby league community, whether you're from Cabramatta, or Dubbo, or you're involved with the Bulldogs. You should feel comfortable whether you're gay or lesbian or transgender because that's life."
Saturday's showpiece will have an overwhelming NRL presence, with club officials, cheerleaders and former greats of the game all taking part, while goal posts, AstroTurf and a special tribute to one of the voices of rugby league, Tina Turner, will complete the flourish of footy.
"We're so proud of how all the clubs have got behind it. Every club is represented. We'll wear our jerseys as a badge of honour. Hopefully long-term every club will have their own float," Langmack said.
Fellow Canterbury great and current NRL Community Ambassador Nigel Vagana will also be on the float on Saturday night, and hopes the code's presence will help promote the idea of acceptance in society.
"It's an opportunity to use sport as a vehicle to help effect change in the community," Vagana said.
"There are a lot of people that really love our sport. One of our game's values is inclusiveness and courage, so we've got to stand up for what we believe in as a sport. The opportunity to do this tomorrow is pretty powerful.
"I think it's about creating an environment where everyone can be respected and everyone feels safe.
"We talk a lot about what we can do, but I think it's important for us to live those words and live those messages as well."