Scotland’s Pioneering Gay Rugby Team Celebrates 10 Years

Scotland’s gay rugby team, The Caledonian Thebans, celebrates its tenth anniversary with a gala event on 14 July at Murrayfield, the home of Scottish Rugby.

When the club was established on 12th May 2002, they were the third gay team in the UK and were the first, and remain the only, gay team in Scotland.

“The club was established because a group of gay men wanted to play contact rugby without fear of hostility or prejudice. The Thebans therefore aims to provide the means and facilities for men who are serious about playing contact rugby to do so in a safe and supportive environment.”  Wrote, Colm Cunningham, founder of the club.

2012 not only marks the team’s tenth anniversary but the team’s second showing of a full 15s side at the Bingham Cup, the world gay rugby tournament, which takes place in Manchester, in June. Kade Moncrieff, Assistant Coach, said: “The team has survived a lot. Clubs like London can draw from a city with a population the size of Scotland. But, after 10 years we’re still here representing Scotland in a world arena. That is an achievement in itself.”

Nonetheless, the strength of the club comes from its diversity of players. “We take players of every age, background and with all levels of experience. Being inclusive is at the heart of our club. Training people up and giving everyone a shot to do something incredible is what we do. We have gay, straight, bi, trans players, all who are here to play good rugby and make mates. We even have some English players,” added Moncrieff with traditional Scottish wit.

In 2003, The Thebans were the first rugby club to approach the SRU regarding transgender players in rugby. The issue regarded clarification on insurance for transmen playing and went as far up as being discussed by the International Olympic Committee. Thanks to the Thebans’ campaigning it was decided that athletes would be judged based on their chosen gender identity.

Get in touch with the Thebans if you’d like to celebrate this momentous occasion with the pioneers gay sport in Scotland.  www.thebans-rfc.co.uk

Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!