130901573Leeds Hornets RUFC is the new inclusive rugby team for Leeds and becomes the first gay-friendly team in Yorkshire.

I had the idea of starting up an inclusive team in early January this year”, says Phil Stewart, the founder of Leeds Hornets rugby. “I’d previously been a  supporter of the Kings Cross Steelers, the world’s first inclusive team, based in London” and was amazed at what they had achieved there with newcomers to the game.

Like many, I was inspired by Team GB’s success at the Olympic Games last year. As many commentators have said, if Yorkshire were a country then we would have finished 12th in the medals table:  It was a remarkable achievement.  Yorkshire is, however, practically the only major region in the UK not to have a gay-friendly rugby team, which is where Leeds Hornets Rugby comes in.

One of the first challenges a new team faces is in finding a host club. I’m delighted to say that Leodensians Rugby Club, based in Alwoodley, Leeds, were supportive of our vision to grow participation of grassroots rugby and give gay, bisexual and straight men the opportunity to play rugby where they might not get the chance to do elsewhere.

Our aim is to make sport a positive experience for gay and bisexual people, as well as to challenge stereotypes about gay men. “I’ve been particularly supportive of Ben Cohen’s StandUp foundation” says Phil, “which aims to eliminate bullying and homophobia in Sport and society”. I met Ben at Northampton Outlaw’s first birthday party recently, and was really moved by his story about the formation of his charity. It was personal tragedy [his father was killed whilst trying to save someone in from an attack] that has driven Ben to eliminate bullying and homophobia from society. He’s doing some really important work, and he has our full support at Leeds Hornets Rugby.

Our summer pre-season touch rugby training sessions start up in May, and this is the ideal time to join. Touch rugby is a fun way to keep fit and get to grips with the basics of the game. Anyone can play rugby, irrespective of size, experience or age. It really is an inclusive sport. What we are aiming to do is to make this a positive experience for those who have thought they might like to play team sports, but for whatever reasons have been put off in doing so in the past.  We will also be arranging a number of socials throughout the year and some team building exercises. Rugby has a great social side, and the friendships you form in the game will last with you a lifetime.

Leeds Hornets Rugby is the new gay-friendly rugby team based at Leodensians Rugby Club in Leeds. Training is 3pm Sundays & 7pm Wednesdays. Join our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter  @leedshornetsrfc to find out more!

Categories: LGBT Groups, What's On

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