Girl is called ‘lesbian’ for playing football
A 13-year-old girl from Wales has said she has been called a lesbian because she plays football.
Darcie, 13, who lives in Cwmbran, Torfaen, told the BBC that she had been taunted by both boys and their parents for playing the sport.
The teenager said her school wouldn’t allow her to play football because it is a “boy’s sport.”
“I want to play football, and I don’t want someone to criticise me,” she told the BBC.
“They have criticised me a lot by saying I’m a man or a lesbian. They’ve just called me all different types of names.”
The teenager plays as a central midfielder for a local football team.
She reported that some parents supporting their sons had shouted “don’t let a girl tackle you” when she has been on the pitch.
Darcie continued: “I ask my PE teachers if I can play football, can I do that as a recommended sport and they say no because it is a boy’s sport.
“I think it is wrong that people criticise girls for playing football because it is something they want to do and they love.”
Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, told the BBC that it was “depressing” for her to hear about the gender stereotyping.
“Girls say that there’s often very little opportunity to take part in football and rugby,” she told the broadcaster.
“Sometimes they have clubs where they can take part but it is not part of their core PE lessons.
“It makes girls and boys think their life has got to be constrained perhaps into one pathway or another and it is just a real harm that they can be turned off sport and exercise.”
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Nalda Wainwright, director of the Welsh Institute of Physical Literacy, told the BBC that the segregation of students playing “traditional sports” is a hangover from the 1944 Education Act.
“It is really down, I suppose, to the training of teachers. We know we have a real lack of expertise, particularly in primary schools,” she said.
Football is the top participation sport for women and girls in England, according to the Football Association (FA).
The FA reports that some 900,000 girls aged between five and 15 played football in the 2017/2018 season.
According to the FA, there are more than 3,800 affiliated girls’ youth football teams in England.