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July 23, 2018 | by  | in UniQ |
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Queer in Football

Football has been a huge part of my life as long as I can remember. I remember playing in the front yard and local park with my siblings, watching tapes of World Cup games my Opa had recorded, and many, many years of playing for various clubs in the Hutt region.
I’d always struggled to connect with my teammates, and it wasn’t until after I came out that I began to realise why. Through the entire time I’ve been playing, masculinity and heterosexuality have been the taken for granted by coaches and teammates alike, and it has never been unusual to hear people question in misogynistic and generally less than polite terms, others’ masculinity, or throw homophobic slurs at opposition and teammates alike. Even now, as a coach of a young team, I hear similar things from young players and other coaches, which I find incredibly discouraging.
This has made footballing spheres a less than comfortable space for me, as a queer transgender woman, to participate in without hiding my own identity, and consequently, it has become harder and harder for me to enjoy the time I spend playing football. Having never come out to any of my teammates, and hiding my identity from parents and children, it is hard to say how any would react to me coming out. No doubt some would be supportive, but it is just as certain that some will not be, and that some may even become hostile.
Recently I’ve discussed with friends the idea of a queer football team, and while I would much prefer to play football with people I can get along well with, it is hard to view the possibility of putting together such a team and being able to play in a safe and non-controversial way with much optimism, especially in light of the way transgender athletes are being villainized in the media. There is hope for improvement though, and one must hope that it comes soon enough to take advantage of.

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