FootballvTransphobia week of action – an interview with Julia

The annual FootballvTransphobia week of action took place recently, finishing on Trans Day of Visibility on Thursday 31 March. FootballvTransphobia is a week-long campaign run by FootballvHomophobia and Pride Sports with the aim on raising awareness on trans inclusion and tackling transphobia in the game.

This is the fourth season that the FootballvTransphobia week of action has taken place with football clubs, fans and other football stakeholders getting involved being active across social media and using their platforms to share the voices of trans people and allies in all aspects of football.

As part of this year’s campaign we spoke to Charlton Athletic supporter Julia, a striker for our LGBTQ+ inclusive affiliated football team Charlton Invicta FC and committee member for the Proud Valiants, about her experiences, being part of the Charlton family and the importance of the week of action and Trans Day of Visibility.

“As an LGBT+ woman who's come back into football recently, Trans Day of Visibility reminds us that the simple joys that many of us take for granted still need to be fought for. For many trans people, finding a welcoming place in the stands to support your team or a pitch where you can play football without prejudice is still a long way away.

“But there are people in football who want to change that, and Charlton Athletic were there for me when I wanted to enjoy football again – as a supporter and as a player. I joined the Proud Valiants back in 2019 after moving to South East London, who have welcomed me as one of their own and brought me many fond memories, including many Charlton wins, joining the committee, and coming onto the pitch for the annual Football vs. Homophobia match.

“It’s also how I found out about Charlton Invicta, Charlton Athletic Community Trust’s LGBTQ+ inclusive and affiliated football team. I hadn’t played football since moving to London as I didn’t know where I’d feel comfortable, but that wasn’t a concern after I went to my first training session in January 2020. Since then, I’ve become fitter, improved my football, and made friends – with some wonderful highlights like scoring a brace against Millwall Pride at Sparrows Lane in November 2021 and winning the Invicta Most Improved Player award for 2020/21 at the end of season awards. 

“The Club has opened up these experiences and memories for me, and everyone should have the opportunity to take part without fear or prejudice. We need to continue the good work and make ourselves known on Trans Day of Visibility so that trans people know there is somewhere that will welcome them – and we should support all trans people who aren’t yet able to be visible and let them know that we care especially for them too.”

Dr. Michael Seeraj, Charlton Athletic and CACT Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, said:

“The FootballvTransphobia week of action takes place every year, and celebrates trans and non-binary people, by helping to raise awareness of discrimination faced by trans people.

“Charlton were the first Club in the UK to formally affiliate a LGBTQ+ inclusive team - Charlton Invicta FC. As part of this we provide a welcoming ‘space’ for all players, regardless of their identity, expression or orientation, the opportunity to play football – football for all. We stand as allies of, and in solidarity with, our trans players, colleagues, and wider community”.

Click here to find out more about Invicta.

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