I hated sport when I was a kid, throughout my teenage years and well into adulthood because I found that it exists within a hyper-masculine space that I find repellant and toxic. Or is it that within sport lives a toxic hyper-masculine space? Either way, I have always felt like I am not that kind of man who perpetrates or thrives in such a space
Masculinity for me was differently defined from a young age, and by default challenged the masculinity in and of sports. I have my mother and grandmother to thank for that. So the tension was clear from the get go. Even so, I played basketball, table tennis, volleyball, athletics, cricket and even tried soccer. I enjoyed the technical aspect of sports and for a long time, I could focus on just that. I did not engage socially on sport either because my conversations were always different from the rest of the boys.
Then I grew up and became more self aware. This meant placing myself in the hyper masculine sports arena, excuse the pun, and it presented more tensions. Tensions that my passion for sport could not trump. Mostly because I felt alone and for a long time, I just could not find the right words to articulate those tensions.
This is why discovering Jozi Cats was redeeming experience for my relationship with sport. Or at least the beginning of that redemption. A gay rugby club pushing for transformation in one of the most hyper masculine sports in the world? Pushing against the complacency within which toxic masculinity has thrived? Yes!
Jozi Cats recently launched #BTheWhistle, a campaign against homophobia in sport. The campaign will see the gay rugby team go on a national tour where they will engage with teams and communities with transformation in mind. Check out their campaign video below and by all means support this noble cause. Share. Donate. Get involved and #BTheWhistle against homophobia in sport.