Talking trans visibility in grassroots sport & physical activity
Posted: Fri, 09 Apr 2021 17:51
Ahead of our trans visibility training course next week on 15th April, we caught up with Simon Chapman, Chairman of Northampton Outlaws RFC to talk about how they make their club supportive, safe and inclusive for transgender people.
If you'd like to learn more about trans inclusion within grassroots sport and physical activity settings join our training course, book here
How have you created a trans-inclusive environment at the club?
As a club we have worked closely with trans players to ensure they feel comfortable, firstly by not singling them out as different. Instead, treating them the same as our other players. We obviously don't announce anyone as trans, it's up to them if they want others to know.
We have actively shown our commitment through trans inclusive shirts and logos to show we, as a club are active allies to the community openly and publicly. We offer mixed gender touch rugby allowing a neutral environment and any player is encouraged and supported to train & play the contact version of the game with the gender they identify as.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Everyone is treated as an individual here, but trans players do have some RFU permissions to gain in order to play contact matches in their gender identity and be covered by the necessary insurances required to play. While this is a totally discreet process, we have actively worked to make that process as easy as possible, by explaining what needs to be done, and helping them to do it or doing it on their behalf if they want us to. Thankfully, this is a one-time process and doesn't need to be repeated at future clubs.
The only other challenge is showering. At rugby clubs, communal showers are always in operation and while showering is not obligatory (and some players don't for their own personal reasons), trans players of course also need that opportunity if they wish to use it. We have ensured there is access to a single person separate shower facility. Or at away matches, there's the opportunity to shower before or after others, or together but keeping underwear on - if that is their preference. Basically, making sure the trans person is making the decision for themselves and has the maximum number of options available so they aren't missing out on a basic necessity, and that they are happy with that choice themselves.
What advice would you offer to a club looking to become more trans-inclusive?
Being trans-inclusive might sound like you have to fundamentally alter your entire club and ways of working, but that's incredibly far from the truth. Trans people want to be included and treated exactly the same as anybody else, and to know they would be in a safe and supportive environment where they wouldn't be subjected to transphobia. In reality, yes, you might have to do a little research on your governing body rules for trans inclusion and potentially fill in a couple of forms, but in practical terms at your club on a day-to-day basis, you don't have to change how you work and how things are organised.
If you could offer any words of advice to another organisation like yourself, what would you say?
Be kind and ask what they need just like you would for any member. They could be your most dedicated player and future Club President.