One of London’s many LGBT football teams is backing the bid to host the Gay Games in London2018. Here’s how they got started and why they think gay sports are a good thing.
Phoenix FC was created in the summer of 2008. At that time there were a few LGBT football teams in southwest and central London – but nothing happening in the East or in Essex. Their first training was in Haggerston Park in Hackney – attended by a small group that had left another gay team and a few guys who’d responded to an ad on gumtree. Their first match was played in some hastily printed white t-shirts and with the help of friends from other teams to make up their 11.
Today they’ve grown to a club with nearly 40 players in the books (mostly gay, but they have many straight and trans players as well), and are a serious contender for the top spot in their league. Over the years they’ve taken on the police from Limehouse in a diversity match during LGBT History month, hosted a Football vs. Homophonbia 7-a-side tournament during the London 2012 Olympics as part of the Pride House Festival, and participated in cross promotion with Soho Theatre.
“Our mission is to provide a safe, friendly and fostering environment where anyone can play or learn to play football in a non-judgmental, encouraging atmosphere. Through coming together to play football, we have formed dozens of lasting and meaningful friendships among people now living around the world. We want to be of service. Whether it’s for people who grew up with a fear of sport/football because of discrimination they suffered in teenage locker rooms, guys who never thought they would be any good at sport because they were gay, or the many people who have grown up playing football but now want to be part of a friendly and non-aggressive club where winning is more about achieving your best and personal growth.’