Lancashire's first gay and inclusive rugby team Typhoons RUFC lining up for first full year of success
As Lancashire's first '˜Gay and Inclusive' rugby union club, Typhoons RUFC members set out to create a safe, positive and inclusive club environment for rugby to be played and enjoyed, on and off the pitch by all adults, regardless of sexual orientation or rugby ability.
The Lancashire Typhoons, which operates under the International Gay Rugby organisation, started up in January to encourage quality and diversity in sport and to support LGBT people wanting to take part.
There are now around 20 clubs in the UK under IGR's umbrella.
The idea behind Lancashire’s first organisation was that of rugby enthusiast Lawrence Howard.
He wanted to help challenge the perceptions surrounding gay people enjoying sports.
“These clubs are environments that are safe for everyone to come and enjoy the sport,” says Lawrence
Lawrence, who himself grew up playing rugby, believes it can help those who love the sport but are scared of a perceived stigma attached to playing.
“I never experienced any abuse when playing myself, but I think there is a perception that people could experience homophobia.
“Whether it is real or not, people have a perception that it is.”
Nathan Moulds, who acts as the club’s communication officer says: “Typhoons RUFC was established with one clear mission; bring gay and inclusive rugby to Lancashire and have fun doing it. So far, so good!
“With a vast amount of help from International Gay Rugby (IGR) and England Rugby (RFU) and support from our sponsors, the Typhoons have really taken off and continue to bring more people to the sport.
“There is no such thing as being too old, too inexperienced or too gay to play.
“The first nine months have been fantastic and very busy. We have taken part in several Pride marches across the north.”
Nathan says the inclusivity factor was at the very heart of helping build a successful team, the Typhoons welcome any player of any background or ability.
“Gay rugby was first created so that members of the LGBT community could feel comfortable in taking on the sport with like-minded people, in a safe and comfortable environment without fear of judgement or prejudice.
“But the inclusive element expands on this concept to enable our straight allies who perhaps feel they are too old, too inexperienced or even lack the ability or confidence to get involved with other community clubs.”
The club meet for their training sessions at Preston Grasshoppers in Fulwood every Tuesday from 7.45pm. Nathan says the club have shown them “incredible support”
“Everyone there makes us feel like part of the family.”
Last month the squad unveiled their new kit designed and produced by Ruxs Rugby. It was debuted just a few weeks later at the team’s first game of the season against the Liverpool Tritons RUFC, another team in the IGR North league.
The club are also setting their sights for inclusion in tournaments such as the Bingham Cup and the Union Cup, once they gave completed their first full season.
Nathan adds: “The Typhoons don’t just start and end on the pitch, we are a band of brothers who actually love hanging out away from rugby too and each new member is welcomed into the brotherhood with open arms.
“Of course we are still welcoming new players so if anybody is interested in joining us for training feel free to come down to Preston Grasshoppers on Tuesdays at 7.45pm. No experience needed, just enthusiasm.”