A Sheffield LGBT rugby team will be raising money for charity in honour of World Aids Day when they play this Saturday.
The Sheffield Vulcans take on a fellow LGBT team, Leeds Hunters at Hallam Sports Park to raise money for sexual health organisation Yorkshire MESMAC.
Michael Hudson, captain and Press Officer of the Vulcans, hopes that the day will raise awareness as well as money and promote inclusiveness in the sport.
Sheffield Vulcans were set up in 2017 and are part of the International Gay Rugby (IGR) federation which promotes various rugby inclusivity programmes, inviting members of the LGBTQ community to come together under the slogan: “Fear less and give rugby a try”.
Although the make-up of the squad has heavy LGBT membership, they promote a welcoming environment for players of all abilities and sexual orientation.
Mr Hudson said “So long as you abide be our values that someones sexuality makes no difference in a tackle, we welcome anyone.”
Gareth Thomas, former Wales captain who came out in 2009, was the victim of a homophobic attack a few weeks ago in Cardiff. Thomas didn’t press charges against the teenage assailant.
Speaking on the incident, Mr Hudson said: “If that were me, I would be dragging them through the court system so full credit to Gareth for his reaction. Reading through online comments on the story, I was taken aback with the overwhelming positive response, which put me back in my seat completely.”
The Vulcans face a tough contest against the Hunters, with the Leeds outfit winning two of their last three games. Mr Hudson is focused steady improvement for a squad of mixed playing ability.
With a big influx of new members bedding into the sport, Mr Hudson said: “We don’t expect to walk in and win every game. Its about learning and if we don’t learn anything from a game then that benefits nobody.”
“It’s not ability – half the team when they first came hadn’t even picked up a ball. Its about learning a skill, getting fit and meeting people. We’ve even had couples meet in the team, which is fantastic.”
The club are also raising money for men’s charity Balls to Cancer, by producing a naked calendar of the team in partnership with six other LGBT clubs across the UK.
“It’s not something my family will be expecting to be getting for Christmas – but they will be! Its the perfect Secret Santa gift.”
Kick off is at 2:00 pm on Saturday 01 December 2018, with MESMAC in attendance offering free HIV tests and literature promoting sexual health.
More details are the game and further events can be found on the Sheffield Vulcans Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/sheffvulcans/.