Picking sides, yes there is a wrong one

Political season has well and truly been upon us. We know how it goes, sporting clubs team up with a politician in the hopes of some extra funds. A story as old as time really… or at least as old as sports rorts.

Most of the time it’s harmless, no matter the political party. Usually it’s a roll of the dice trying to back the right horse. And if you’re northern Tasmania, winning and losing no matter which you backed this time around. 

But sometimes who you align with and invite into your club rooms matters. It can really matter. Especially when the politician is openly transphobic and has a vendetta against a vulnerable minority group, transgender people, and who is someone who makes it clear she believes transpeople don’t have a place in sport. 

Northern Rangers has invited and advertised that Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler will be at the club’s ladies day and handing out an award to the best female player on the day.

Launceston’s Northern Rangers has invited transphobic Senator Claire Chandler to the club’s ladies day.

I’m fuming. 

Upon seeing this pop up in my Facebook feed I almost yelled out in Tyra Banks’ style “I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU, WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU” in the middle of the office. 

My mind races with two possibilities to explain this and neither sit right.

The first is to say this is a football club supporting the narrow minded, bigoted views of the senator. A stance that believes sport is not for everyone. 

The other, less likely option is it was an uneducated decision to invite a politician without realising the ramifications it might have for anyone linked to the club who doesn’t fit squarely into two gender boxes. 

I’m honestly not sure which I would prefer. For a club to deliberately slide tackle with studs up my trans friends, or to have a club run by a board who simply haven’t done their homework to understand what this politician stands for.

Anyone daring to argue the soccer club has invited a politician who is all for “women in sport” needs to take a good, hard look at themselves.

My heart hurts for Northern Rangers’ round 15 opponents, especially for anyone who might not be a cis-woman.

I hope anyone who doesn’t in fit squarely into the two strict gender boxes knows deep in their bones that they are welcome in sport and in our game of soccer. I’m sorry for the dinosaurs who argue otherwise.

I was going to soften the blow and talk about what I think about Northern Rangers on the pitch, but honestly? That’s giving the club more credit than it’s currently worth. 

Northern Rangers has picked a side and it’s not the right one. 

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