The sixth Bingham Cup rugby tournament is being held this weekend in Manchester, England, and will be bigger than ever, with 37 teams from 15 countries. It will also have on hand two pro rugby players who have teamed up on a campaign to fight homophobia in the sport.
Ben Cohen, a straight ally, and Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2010, are part of the effort called "Let’s Kick Homophobia Into Touch.” From Pink Paper:
Ben Cohen, who set up the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation to combat bullying, said: “I’m passionate that anyone, regardless of their background, should be able to play rugby. The sport is becoming more inclusive, but more can always be done within the rugby community to help break down barriers and bring more people into the sport.”
The public can pledge their support for the campaign via Twitter by using the hashtag #kickintotouch.
The Bingham Cup is named in honor of Mark Bingham, a rugby player who was openly gay, and who died on United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks on the U.S.
In addition to his involvement with the Bingham Cup, Thomas is giving his fans a treat by posing nude for the June issue of Attitude magazine in England. Our friend Matt Hennie of Project Q Atlanta has some images from the shoot, along with an audio interview of Thomas discussing homophobia.