Football v Transphobia Week of Action Celebrations in Glasgow

17th April 2024

Football v Transphobia Week of Action Celebrations in Glasgow

Glasgow’s grassroots football community celebrated the Football v Transphobia Week of Action this year with events, dedicated matches and online shows of support. As well as a recognition of everything that trans people bring to football, the Week of Action is a time to reflect on how our footballing communities can better support trans people to participate in and enjoy the beautiful game.

An easy place to start this work is with the ‘welcoming trans people in football’ guides that can be found at the bottom of the Football v Transphobia main page. There are guides for players, clubs, fans, coaches, referees and the media. Tips include simple changes that individuals can make, such as using gender neutral language and checking people’s pronouns, as well as larger actions clubs can take, such as making facilities a safe environment and implementing clear policies and complaints procedures.

Crucially, it is more important than ever to be loud and proud about the joys of a trans-inclusive community. Glasgow’s grassroots teams did that this Week of Action: matches were dedicated to the campaign at the Saturday morning Piatto 5s league, and the Glasgow Community 7s league showed full support on the Sunday, with glorious sunshine even joining us for the occasion!

In her speech that closed the 2024 Football v Homophobia awards, FvT campaign lead Natalie Washington said that ‘it’s absolutely critical right now that we allow trans people to take their space, allow trans people to have a voice, and allow them to speak for themselves.’ With this in mind, the FvT Scotland campaign supported Glasgow Pride Community FC to run an event that platformed trans voices. Glasgow Pride hosted a screening of the documentary Lotus Sports Club, which focuses on the experiences of the trans masc players and coach of a Cambodian football team, Kampong Chhnang.

The film was followed by a panel discussion with Jasmine Angove, Alex, Noel Hughes and Mat Wilkie; players from Gender Goals FC, Cathkin Blazes FC and Glasgow Pride CFC, and the Senior Project Officer for Trans Inclusion at LEAP Sports. The discussion highlighted many things that need to be addressed within our community.

Alex spoke passionately about the lack of spaces for trans men to play, touching on the inadequacy of language that invites ‘women and non-binary people’ to join clubs. This erasure of trans men is in contrast with a disproportionate focus on trans women in sport. Jasmine talked about her experiences as a player in an SWF league, discussing the scrutiny that trans women face and the dehumanising, invasive processes that they have to go through just to play football. You can read more about Jasmine’s experiences and thoughts in this brilliant blog. Much of the audience was made up of members of grassroots clubs in Glasgow and we were left with a lot to think about.

But, the event also gave space for our community to show love and care for our trans siblings. In the panel, Noel shared how touched they were by the film’s depiction of chosen family. This opened up an appreciation for the beautiful bonds between teammates. In many ways, sports teams are a chosen family - one that everyone deserves to be part of.

During the Week of Action, clubs in Glasgow showed what this family is all about, with messages on social media declaring how and why trans people are welcome in their teams. Many of these statements highlighted the inclusive nature that is so essential to the grassroots game, as well as the power that football has to connect us. As Glasgow Saints FC put it: ‘Trans people belong in our leagues and teams because everyone should have access to the joy of sport and the community football brings. Football has always been about bringing people together’.

Several statements also acknowledged Scotland’s first ever trans and non-binary club, Gender Goals FC, which began as a Trans Active Glasgow project. The ongoing success that Gender Goals have seen since they were founded in 2023 is testimony to the happiness that a football team run by and for trans players creates. At the Glasgow Community 7s tournament, which also fell on Trans Day of Visibility, Gender Goals used the opportunity to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and to share their own views: ‘without rights and protection, visibility can pose danger to our community. We at Gender Goals celebrate all trans and non-binary people, both visible (like those in our glamorous kits on matchdays) and those who aren't yet able to be visible. We see you, we love you, and we embrace you all’.

Written on 17th April 2024.