As part of Transgender Awareness Week, which took place from 13-19 November, Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) spoke to Naomi Reid, who has been reflecting on her time as a player.
Transgender Awareness Week is a time where transgender people and their allies help raise visibility and address the issues the transgender community faces.
CACT Invicta became the first LGBTQI+ friendly football team to be affiliated to a professional football club’s community trust in 2017.
Naomi, who also studied at the University of Greenwich, joined Invicta in February 2019.
Speaking about her time with Invicta, Naomi said:
“Since joining Invicta I’ve had so many highlights; winning a silver medal at the Euro Games in Rome is definitely up there and even though I’ve only played in four cup finals in my football career, our recent game in Edinburgh is the best I’ve ever played in. Unfortunately, we only had 10 players, but we battled to a 3-1 victory.
“The performance was sensational, it didn’t matter if you were gay, straight, transgender, or anything else, we were just one team.”
In October, Naomi scored in a penalty shootout in front of the Covered End at Charlton Athletic’s game against Swansea City, as part of the University of Greenwich’s matchday.
A UoG graduate, Naomi said:
“It was an unbelievable experience; scoring in front of 15,000 fans is something I’ll never forget
“On a personal level, after coming out as transgender, I thought I wouldn't be able to play football again. But the level of diversity and inclusion promoted by CACT and Invicta meant that I didn't have to give up the sport I love.”
Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT’s Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, said:
“Since we launched CACT Invicta FC in August 2017, it has proved to be an enormous success. CACT and the team have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and understanding of LGBTQI+ issues – as a result, we were delighted when Naomi joined the team.
“Naomi has supported a number of Charlton initiatives, and we are proud to have such a diverse and inclusive team during this important week.”
“As part of our wider CACT work we aim to provide opportunities for all people, regardless of their background, to play and enjoy football, particularly those groups and individuals who are under-represented, or who have had least access to play. Invicta provide such opportunities, alongside our other Teams, including our Women’s and Upbeats Teams’"
Gary Ginnaw, player-manager of CACT Invicta, said:
“Naomi joined Invicta in February 2019 and with her brought a wealth of footballing experience.
“I know she felt she would never play football again after coming out as transgender and I’m honoured that we have been able to offer her a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment to be herself and continue to play the game she loves.
“On the pitch, Naomi’s standout moments have got to be winning a silver medal at the Euro Games in Rome in July 2019, and commanding the midfield during Invicta’s 3-1 win in Edinburgh earlier this month.”
To find out more about CACT Invicta, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.