Lucy Clark wasn’t sure whether she would be able to keep refereeing soccer as an out transgender woman.
She’s thrilled to say she was wrong, and in a new documentary, is telling her story.
Clark, England’s first out transgender soccer official, is one of the referees featured in the new documentary, “The Middle,” which follows a “diverse group of match officials as they attempt to cope with the rigors of running matches in grassroots football.” There are 10 subjects in total.
“The Middle” premiers in theaters March 31.
In an interview Thursday on Sky News, Clark said she never encountered the abuse she feared she would receive.
“I was gonna give up refereeing, because I didn’t think the football world would possibly accept me,” she said. “Instances, as you’ll see in the film, led me to go ahead and decide to referee, and continue with it. Everyone was great, to be honest with you. I was obviously skeptical about how everyone would accept me, or whether I would be accepted, or whether I would get abused because of who I am. But everyone was just great.”
Our very own @lucyclarkref, on Sky News this morning, talking about being the world first transgender football referee.— LGBWithTheT (@LGBwiththeT) March 30, 2023
She is part of a film coming out called ‘In The Middle’ which focuses on being a referee from diverse perspectives.
Clark, who officiates at the Women’s National League and the men’s grassroots level, was hospitalized with a heart attack around the time of her transition, according to Yahoo! Sports.
After her hospitalization, she decided to step back onto the pitch, and hasn’t regretted her decision one bit.
That doesn’t mean her experience has been without conflict. As the Yahoo! article spells out, Clark has received some abuse from players that’s left her “feeling suicidal.” The film is being released amidst an ongoing debate in England and elsewhere about player behavior towards officials.
Clark isn’t the only out transgender soccer referee in the world. Two years ago, Israeli official Sapir Berman publicly came out as trans, making history in her country.
There are also two out officials in the U.S.
Clark says she’s proud to be a standard-bearer.
“I’ve had two people in America that have said I’ve inspired them to be their true selves. They’re now living life as their authentic selves and officiating at grassroots level. We follow each other’s journeys,” she told Yahoo. “We only get one life. You should live it as your authentic self.”
Amen to that.