First gay rugby team turns 20

By ELAYNA PAULK

There has always been the idea of hyper masculinity in contact sports, such as football and rugby. The first rugby team originated from England in the first half of the 19th century and was composed of all men and now, the first gay rugby team celebrates its 20th year as an¬†organization and discusses the homophobia they’ve experienced.

CNN reports that the fear of contracting AIDS in the 1990s was a limitation on the all-gay team playing non-gay teams, since AIDS was often associated with death.

According to CNN, Mark Bithell, the capital of the rugby team, says that the fear of contracting AIDS and homophobia limited who they played with.

“A lot of teams just didn’t want to play us,” he recalls. “And you can never be sure why they declined.

“But I certainly experienced it as a player in particular when there was a blood injury. They would react in a completely hysterical way and start screaming ‘Blood! Blood!’ and screaming at the referee to get us off the pitch because they were afraid.”

But now, with a more informed society, we praise teams such as this one, who are brave and proud enough to organize as a team, regardless of their individual sexual orientation.