South Africa’s first gay rugby team smash homophobic stereotypes
The Jozi Cats are South Africa’s first openly inclusive gay rugby team.
After starting up in early 2016, the team began their campaign in the world of rugby with a photoshoot that was designed to challenge masculine stereotypes that surround the sport.
The shoot presents the players in provocative poses in front of images that contain homophobic slurs.
The flanker for the Cats, Desmond Roux is featured wearing a bejewelled crown, whilst other members of the team hold glittery magic wands.
Roux says the team was created in order to provide a safe space for the gay community and to encourage people to find friends in their teammates, something they are very proud of.
Fellow teammate Teveshan Kuni told The Dominion Post that the Cats want to let the gay community in South Africa know that they “are an alternative space for them to come and hang out”.
The team says they want to encourage publicity and recruit further members, whilst also raising awareness for homosexuals who have the desire to take part in a team orientated sport.
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Player Larry Viljoen added that rival teams feared the Cat’s for both their formation and their potential gameplay.
There have been fears that the Jozi Cats may upset the balance in the world of South African rugby, by bringing an openly gay team into the sport.
The country’s protection of LGBT community has been turbulent over the past decade.
As recently as 2012 there was a request filed to remove all LGBT rights from the Constitution by the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa).
Though this was rejected, it was a clear demonstration that the LGBT community is supported by the whole population.