An inclusive rugby club have been nominated for Community Sports Project of the Year at Aberdeen’s Sports Awards.
Aberdeen Taexali Rugby Club were founded by chairman Bryan Sinclair.
The aim was to open the game, exercise and other benefits of physical activity to gay, bisexual, straight and trans players in the area, without fear of stigma and the toxic masculinity which can pervade some sporting environments.
The team have proven popular and now have around 15 members – many of whom had no previous rugby experience – attending twice-weekly training sessions at Hazlehead and a gym session at Warehouse on Mearns Street.
Bryan said: “The club started last October on the back of a conversation with somebody from an inclusive rugby team down in England.
“They thought Aberdeen would be a good place to start up, so I put out a few feelers to see if anyone was interested.
“It proceeded from there.
“I don’t have any rugby background whatsoever, but I thought the gay community in Aberdeen needed a bit more for LGBT people.
“For me it was something different to do as well.”
The store manager added: “We had six initially at our first training session, but over the last six months or so it’s built up.
“There aren’t that many with rugby experience. Some played when they were a bit younger at school and things.”
The Taexali – which was the word used by Ptolemy to describe people in the north-east of Scotland – are affiliated to International Gay Rugby as a development club and are aiming to join the IGR (North) League for season 2020/21.
In the meantime, they will begin playing friendlies with local north-east sides, as well as inclusive teams from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dunfermline.
With their relative lack of rugby experience initially, equipment could’ve been an issue, but luckily a connection with a local sport shop meant it wasn’t a problem.
Bryan, who lives in the city centre, said: “One of our coaches also works at Thistle Sports and previously played for Garioch.
“So we managed to borrow a few bits and pieces there. We had balls donated form Aberdeen Wanderers as well, which was good.
“We’ve been applying for funding and got a grant from CALA Homes. We got sponsorship from Specsavers, too.”
Like all rugby clubs, a big part of Aberdeen Taexali is the social aspect.
Bryan added: “We meet up socially and go for nights out and things, like the cinema or a few drinks.”
On the nomination, Bryan said: “It’s brilliant to get the recognition of what we’ve done in the last nine months or so as a team.
“The fact we’re an inclusive rugby team shows there’s support there for us.
“Attitudes are changing within the LGBT community and in sports.
“It would be great to win, but to be nominated is an honour as well.”
The Sports Awards will be held at P&J Live on Thursday October 3.
To nominate an individual or club, visit aberdeenssportsawards.co.uk
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