Despite our current moment of social distancing, it’s important to still take a moment to observe Transgender Day of Visibility. After all, the trans community is still unmistakably visible, even from six feet away.
And though major sporting events are suspended all across the world, that’s not stopping some athletic organizations from supporting their trans players and fans. Among some of Great Britain’s soccer fans, Transgender Day of Visibility is the culmination of a weeklong initiative called Football v. Transphobia.
This campaign is an offshoot of the international Football v. Homophobia program, an organization “that exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression at all levels of football.”
While soccer matches are currently on hold throughout Britain due to the coronavirus epidemic, Football v. Transphobia has taken to social media to maintain the campaign’s presence in the public eye.
During this week in particular, FvH provided a way for its followers to maintain their skills on the pitch through the #BinTransphobia challenge. The hashtag challenged fans to find creative and visually compelling ways to kick a soccer ball into a rubbish bin, thus enabling them to keep in practice while providing an apt metaphor for where anti-trans language and behavior belongs.
The @FvHTweets twitter feed amplified several of the best #BinTransphobia videos. Among them, ITV Sports reporter Beth Fisher teamed up with her partner and Chelsea FC Women defender Anita Asante to show everyone how it was done...
⚽️ @NicenNeetz & I are proud to support @FvHtweets #FvT2020 Week of Action.— Beth Fisher (@BethFisherSport) March 29, 2020
The aim of the game is to #BinTransphobia
(This took about 20 takes & almost caused a divorce btw )
Thanks to @LouEnglefield for the cool T-shirts - we are very proud to wear them. pic.twitter.com/9LXHiHuPhh
Trans soccer striker Sammy Walker of the Bristol Panthers combined balance, ball control, and behind-the-back skills to expertly sort transphobia in with the rest of the refuse:
Additionally, the challenge captured the attention of the Premier League’s Liverpool FC whose LFC Foundation joined in with a tutorial video.
And London’s Goal Diggers FC compiled a number of fan clips into a minute-long highlight reel. All that was missing was the “Sweet Georgia Brown” soundtrack.
There are many more such clips posted on Football v. Homophobia’s twitter feed in addition to a number of stories of inclusion from trans players and allies. Writing for The Football Association’s website, Pride Sports Director Lou Englefield summed up the purpose of the campaign in relation to Trans Awareness Week:
“Did you know the FA has a policy that enables trans people to play alongside their cisgender teammates and friends? Yet all we seem to see in the media is opinion pieces about how unfair it is for trans people to compete in sport...
“Let’s not revisit history and allow misinformation and stereotypes to get in the way of trans people being able to enjoy the beautiful game in 2020.”
It’s heartening to see a number of British soccer clubs showing their support of the trans community on Transgender Day of Visibility. And it will be even more heartening whenever we get to see American pro sports doing the same.