A Married Couple Became The First Gay Couple To Own A Rugby Team

Two gay men have just become the first married gay couple to own a professional sports club.

According to ITV, Ryan O’Neill and Kaue Garcia, who run a tech company, have bought a major stake in the Keighley Cougars rugby team. The two finalized the decision last week.

This wasn’t a sudden and impulse buy though. O’Neill has personal history with the team through his father Mick. Mick O’Neill was once the head and owner of the club back in the 1990s. Now, Mick has returned as the club’s chairman. This is especially important as the club has been deteriorating as of late do to a lack of leadership.

“Being back in control after 20 years means so much to me personally and my family,” he said to Yorkshire Evening Post, “The town desperately needs a successful RL club and we intend to make that happen.”

“We are all looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and will be working hard to bring a smile back to Cougars and the game in general.”

In addition, Mick O’Neill will be joined by a consortium of other partial stake holders. this includes his son and son-in-law.

Speaking to Pink News, Ryan and Kaue say that they have been welcomed earnestly by the athletes and staff.

“In our introduction as new owners to a packed meeting of supporters, we announced ourselves as a same-sex married couple, which was met with applause,” said Ryan O’Neill.

“In my first meeting with the Rugby Football League, we discussed gay rights, and they are extremely supportive in working with us on LGBT+ inclusive initiatives.”

It’s important to note how O’Neill and Garcia are creating history with their purchase of the club’s stakes.

There are very few openly LGBTQ owners of athletic teams and/or clubs. In fact, the first openly LGBTQ owner of a professional sports team was Laura Ricketts. According to the Windy City Times, Ricketts became the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, along with her family, in 2009.

We wish the couple, the rest of the owners, and the Keighley Cougars the best of luck. To making plays and making history!

h/t: ITV, Pink News, Yorkshire Evening Post, Windy City Times

British Rugby Player Lost In Gay Asylum Loop May Become Homeless

Gay rugby player living in the UK just can’t catch a break.

Last month, we introduced you to the story of Kenneth Macharia. Macharia, who is openly gay, was born in Kenya where homosexuality is illegal, but moved to the UK on a student visa in 2009. He was then granted extensions twice, as a student and then a highly skilled migrant. Later, the 28-year-old mechanical engineer applied for asylum, but KRTV reports that his 2016 application was rejected in November.

Macharia has asked for his application for asylum to be judged a second time, but a new problem is now arising as he waits it out.

Macharia has been paying council tax for his studio flat in Glastonbury, Somerset. After his deportation notice, Macharia was told that he couldn’t work. To help pay the tax while he’s jobless, Macharia looked into a council-tax discount. Mendip district council offers aid of up to 80% for people of a working age. Unfortunately, Macharia is no longer eligible.

According to the Guardian, Macharia has received notice the week before Christmas that he isn’t entitled to the discount because he might be deported.

“The council has decided that you are not entitled to support because you do not have the right to remain. While your asylum application is being processed, you fail the immigration control test which means you are disqualified for council tax support and you do not meet any of the exceptions which may allow you to claim.”

Kenneth Macharia is in a tough spot right now. He can’t work because the British Home Office won’t allow it, so he can’t afford to pay his council tax. On top of that, his deportation status blocks him from seeking the aid he needs to keep his home. This could eventually leave Macharia homeless.

“I am not eligible for any support,” said Macharia to the Guardian, “The Home Office only supports asylum seekers after they are destitute and homeless. It takes a while after becoming homeless for them to offer accommodation. I didn’t want to become homeless.”

“I thought it was quite straightforward considering I’m not allowed to work. I thought they would be more understanding and give me a discount and say I don’t need to pay council tax.

“It’s a box-ticking exercise. The council are just looking at their regulations and completely do not care about the effect that has.”

For now, Macharia is relying on financial help from his 69-year-old mother, Jacinta, who works as an agency nurse. She has been paying for his £365 monthly rent plus bills while her son Kenneth waits for the Home Office to decide his fate.

This is just the latest in Macharia’s struggles since his application for asylum was rejected. That rejection led to him being detained at the Colnbrook Immigration Center near Heathrow airport.

Thankfully, Macharia is a devoted member of the gay and inclusive rugby team the Bristol Bisons. After hearing of his situation, the Bristol Bisons started campaigning to have Macharia’s asylum request relooked at. This is especially because homosexuality is illegal in the country and citizens often attack gay men as well.

“There is a lot of mob justice that takes place in Kenya because the police are generally inefficient and the general public have a habit of taking the law into their own hands,” Macharia noted in an interview with BBC radio.

Eventually, Macharia was released from the detainment center while his application for asylum is being readdressed. That said, he is now dealing with the new issue of his financial dilemma.

We’ll keep you updated as Kenneth Macharia’s situation continues.

h/t: The Guardian, KRTV

UPDATE 12/30/2018:

According to BBC News, two anonymous donors have come forward to pay Macharia's Council tax bill. 

He said: "I didn't expect it but two people have come forward to pay it."


To Wear Rainbow Laces - Personal Choice, Support LGBT Community, Or Take One For The Team?

What is going on with these Rugby and Soccer Rainbow Laces?  Are they a new fad or a quick response to a recent homophobic attack on one of their own?

Some of us may believe that this new showing of LGBT acceptance in the European soccer, All 20 clubs from the Premier League, clubs in the Football League, the Scottish Premier League, teams from Premiership Rugby, and Welsh Rugby might be in response to Former Rugby Player Gareth Thomas Says He Was The Victim Of A Hate Crime .  French Rugby Players [were soon to react and showed their] Support For Gay Rugby Legend Gareth Thomas.  Maybe the other clubs above were not thinking they needed to respond too quickly to show their support for Gareth Thomas since an LGBT supportive event was already planned from yesterday, November 24th to Friday, December 5th. 

Here's more about the history of the Rainbow Laces.


What is the Rainbow Laces campaign?

Rainbow Laces is spearheaded by Stonewall, a charity that aims to promote LGBT equality and fight homophobia, and their Rainbow Laces campaign is designed specifically to promote lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality within sport.

The Rainbow Laces campaign is due to kick off this weekend across the UK, and will take place from Saturday November 24 to Friday December 7.

Additionally, on November 28, thousands of fans are expected to take part in a huge lace-up in a nationwide support of LGBT athletes for "Rainbow Laces Day", with more than 75,000 Rainbow Laces already being sold.

The Rainbow Laces themselves were created as a symbol of solidarity with the LGBT community within sport, and having high-profile athletes wear them is designed to make LGBT people feel more welcome.

The Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013, the charity of Stonewall itself was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act.

Section 28 of the Act was a piece of legislation that aimed to prevent the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools – and though it stigmatised the LGBT community, it also galvanised them. - GOAL.com

Are laces enough? They are definitely a good start. And some type of action is needed, especially after Gareth Thomas & BBC Release 'Hate in the Beautiful Game' - A Look Inside Homophobia In Soccer back in August of 2017.

But who is going to wear the laces? Wallabies boss Michael Cheika and England's Eddie Jones will let their players decide if they make the gesture as rugby chiefs unite in tribute to ex-Wales captain Gareth Thomas. 

Related Post: FIFA Opens Disciplinary Hearings After Mexico Fans Chant Anti-Gay Slurs At The World Cup

Thinking back to just weeks ago, were American Football players able to choose if they wore pink for Breast Cancer Awareness of if everyone on the team had to represent? What about the games around Veterans Day?  I recall most if not all were wearing some type of camouflage to show their support of the military and with the current political climate, we are sure they would have been pointed out by someone.  But then again, I was not looking to see who wasn't wearing garb in tribute or in support and breast cancer and the military are veery different than supporting those gays, bisexuals, transgender, and so on. 

When it comes to the laces, or even uniform colors, or even playing in the game, should players have the choice to wear rainbow laces or not?



TheSun.co.uk reported that Australia rugby star Israel Folau who said ‘gays can go to hell’ under pressure to wear rainbow laces. After his little homophobic show on Twitter last April, eyes are on him to see what he will do. 




He did not wear the Rainbow laces in Saturdays match.

The Telegraph.co.uk reported that Several England players decide against wearing rainbow laces against Australia due to 'comfort issues'

Ben Te’o and Sam Underhill both confirmed that they would not be re-stringing their boots, with the latter explaining his decision.

"I won’t be wearing them personally,” said Underhill. “That is more to do with, and it sounds a bit ridiculous given the size of the issue they are representing, the thickness of the laces.

“They are actually really uncomfortable in my boots and they are really long. I won't be wearing them, but I fully support the LGBT community. That is something we are all very, very keen that people know.  - Telegraph.co.uk

I get it. I really do.  Sports is full of tradition, superstition, repetition, (homophobia), and ceremony.  Changing any of that may result in an alteration of the game mentally and physically.  Maybe, knowing this, they could wear a sweat band instead of laces or other representation, if they choose to do so.

And then there is the religion card as well as the rainbow flag threatening one's masculinity. We understand that, too.  We may not lke it and choose not to accept it, but we understand the choices people make. 

Instincters, what do you think?  Should players be made to wear rainbow articles of clothing to show the team's support of the LGBT community?

You can purchase Rainbow Laces on the Stonewall website for £2.99.

h/t: thesun.co.uk

French Rugby Players Show Support For Gay Rugby Legend Gareth Thomas

French rugby players are honoring a former teammate who was recently the victim of a hate crime.

A couple days ago, former rugby player Garrth Thomas shared that he was attacked by a homophobic teen. Thankfully, Thomas was able to defend himself and was able to resolve the issue with the help of Cardiff police.

“I want to say thank you to the police who were involved, who were very helpful and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people who did this because I thought they could learn more that way than any other way,” said Thomas.

Now, French players are going to honor Thomas, who played in France for Toulouse between 2004 and 2007, Cardiff police, and the quick and humane way that they resolved the issue.

According to the French Rugby Federation’s Vice President Serge Simon, French players will wear rainbow laces during their match against Fiji in support of the former athlete.

As Simon tweeted:

“Dear Gareth Thomas, all of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic molestation you’ve been victim of,” Simon tweeted.

“To show our support, the French rugby players will wear a rainbow shoe lace during the France — Fiji game on Saturday night.

“We’re all in with you in this matter.”

Former Rugby Player Gareth Thomas Says He Was The Victim Of A Hate Crime

Yesterday, former rugby player Gareth Thomas posted a video on Twitter sharing that he was attacked in Cardiff, Wales because of his sexual orientation.

In the video, Thomas says:

“This morning I’ve decided to make what I hope will be a positive video. Last night I was a victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality. Why do I want it to be positive? Because I want to say thank you to the police who were involved, who were very helpful and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people who did this because I thought they could learn more that way than any other way. And also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me because there’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us. But, unfortunately for them, there is a lot more that want to help us heal. So this, I hope, will be a positive message.”

In addition, Cardiff police later released a statement on Facebook sharing that they are aware of the situation.

The police also shared more information about the incident such as the facts that the attack happened around 9 p.m., that the assailant was a 16-year-old boy, and that he not only admitted to the attack but apologized for it.

As the statement added:

“Restorative justice is about putting victim needs at the centre of the criminal justice system, finding positive solutions to crime and encouraging young people to be accountable for the consequences of their actions.

A hate crime is any crime motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Hate crime has no place in society and has always been a priority for South Wales Police.

We encourage people, whether they are a victim or a witness of hate crime, to report it directly to South Wales Police : Heddlu De Cymru on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

Canada's Ottawa Wolves Won The Bid To Host The 2020 Bingham Cup

Canada will get a little gayer and a little rougher come 2020 as the international gay rugby tournament will be hosted there.

It has recently been announced that the 2020 Bingham cup will take place in Canada, according to the Globe and Mail. The Bingham cup is an event that promotes equality and competition while also serving 70 teams from around the globe.

The event was founded in 2002 and named after former University of California, Berkeley rugby player Mark Dendall Bingham. Bingham later co-founded the Gotham Knights RFC before later dying during the 9/11 terrorist attack on United Airlines Flight 93.

Now, the Ottawa Wolves will take part in honoring his name and the sport of Rugby by hosting the 2020 event.

“This is a truly historic moment for both rugby and the inclusive sports movement in Canada,” said Jean-François Laberge, past captain of the Wolves and president of the Bingham Cup Ottawa 2020 bid committee. “Hosting the Bingham Cup reinforces that Canada is an open, inclusive and welcoming country.”

“The international gay rugby community is excited that the Bingham Cup will be held in Canada for the first time, a country with a growing rugby community and a proud reputation of openness towards the LGBT+ community,” Ben Own, the chair International Gay Rugby, said in a statement.

“Bringing the Bingham Cup to Canada is a major boost for the sport of rugby in this country,” Rugby Canada chairman Tim Powers said. “Rugby is truly an international game with the values of inclusiveness and respect at its core. It’s a sport that transcends issues of sexuality and gender and celebrates diversity.”

h/t: The Globe and Mail

Australia's Sydney Convicts Won The Bingham Cup After Stripping To Fundraise Travel

The Sydney Convicts have done it again.

The Sydney Convicts are Australia’s first gay and inclusive rugby union club. They have been around since 2004 and have since participated in multiple competitions and cups such as the Bingham Cup.

Now, they have won the Bingham Cup, the world cup of gay rugby, for the fifth time. The Convicts won the award after defeating the New York Gotham Knights 22 – 8 this past Sunday.

“Sydney Convicts are the extremely proud to win the Bingham Cup,’ said club president Don Rose.”

“The Amsterdam tournament has been the largest in its history with 2300 players and 72 teams.”

“After 3 days of Rugby the Convicts ‘A’ progressed unbeaten into the grand final and in an extremely tough and hard fought final against the New York Gotham Knights we came away with the Bingham Cup for the 5th time.”

In addition, the Sydney Convicts’s B team also won the Bingham Shield.

These feats are amazing given what the Convicts had to do in order to fund their participation in the competition.

In order to pay for travel to Amsterdam and participate in the Bingham Cup, the team hosted an annual strip show titled Rugger Bugger. During that show, the team members let loose, danced, had fun, and shook their bare butts a little.

All of that raunchy play led them to this Bingham Cup victory, so it was absolutely worth it.

Check Out This Cool Rugby Uniform That Turns Rainbow When It's Stretched

Its seems that Australian Rugby player Israel Folau’s intolerant words shared on Instagram have sparked some wonderful change in the rugby league.

New Zealand union team, the All Blacks, are showing their support of LGBTQ people by donning some pretty cool clothing.

The team will now be wearing all black outfits that, when stretched, turn rainbow colored.

As shared in a statement the announce the new uniforms:

“The result is a fabric that maintains its black appearance when at rest, but when stretched, reveals the deeper grooved portions of each rib and the colors underneath.”

Then to help share the news of this change, the team, along with their sister team the Black Ferns, released a video displaying their wish to support diversity and inclusion. They then started the hashtag #diversityisstrength.

Insurance company AIG, which is the sponsor for both the All Blacks and the Black Ferns, paid for the ad and for the new jerseys.

That said, AIG didn’t come up with the idea themselves. The idea of the jersey was created by Advertising agency TBWQ/Hakubobo and AIG decided to run with it.

No matter who thought up the idea though, we're very happy to see it.

h/t: GayStarNews

Australian Rugby Player Israel Folau Incites Anger Online After A Homophobic Comment

A super religious rugby player has shared some insensitive thoughts.

The man in question is Australian Wallabies player Israel Folau. Folau posted an Instagram picture this past Tuesday to lightly touch on his disappointment at sustaining an injury at his latest game against the New South Wales Waratahs.

The image, shared below, depicts two images with the message that your plans for the future don’t always coincide with God’s plans for the future. In addition, the post included the Biblical quote, “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials.”

All that’s well and good, but soon Folau upset the internet when he responded to a comment. When someone asked, “What was gods plan for gay people?? [sic],” Folau responded, “HELL…Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”



A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

Folau’s comment caused many people on social media to call him intolerant and homophobic. News source RT News also pointed out that this isn’t the first time that Folau has expressed comments along these lines.

Once, Folau posted a tweet, found below, where he stated that he would never support gay marriage.

As such, this is the latest installment in Folau’s open intolerance towards gay people. That said, Rugby Australia’s official policy welcomes gay players and fans.

"Rugby has and must continue to be a sport where players, officials, volunteers, supporters and administrators have the right and freedom to participate regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion and without fear of exclusion.

“There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this."

h/t: RT News