A groundbreaking day for everyone at Champion Hill

two football teams pose for photos

Football doesn’t do enough to support the LGBT+ community.

The Premier League contine their empty gestures with the rainbow laces campaign and alike, but when it comes to genuine, tangible action there’s often much to be desired.

Newcastle United’s recent takeover by the Saudi Investment fund, a repressive regime that has a poor human rights record and intolerance of same-sex relationships, serves as another perfect example of football bodies showing a lack of support for the LGBT+ community. 

However, the powerful stuff both Dulwich and TRUK FC do both on and off the pitch has far more substance than what we get from bodies in the top echelons of the game, with a fraction of the resources.

History was made at Champion Hill last Thursday as Dulwich Hamlet Women took on TRUK FC to mark this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility.

The match was raising money and awareness for the trans community as well as celebrating inclusivity within football. 

The visitors for the day, TRUK United FC, are a team made up entirely of transgender women.

The football team was formed in January 2021, an offhoot of Trans Radio UK. The radio station was set up to support and connect people from within the trans community.

The text-based service acts as a safe space where people from different backgrounds can connect and feel welcomed, something, as we know, football struggles to achieve.

slogans painted on steps at sports stadium

Both the radio and football team were set up by Lucy Clark. She quickly realised there was a huge amount of interest from the community in playing football and, since then, the club has gone from strength to strength.

They had tough opposition for the occasion, a semi-professional side from the fifth tier of the English game taking on teams like Fulham and Millwall Lionesses.

Dulwich hamlet itself works hard on its image, establishing itself as one of the most inclusive and liberal clubs, not only in the lower leagues, but across the country. 

Back in 2015 they worked with Stonewall FC, at the time Britain’s only openly gay club, playing them in a friendly helping to fight homophobia within the game.

Dulwich continues to lead from the front with these issues and Thursday’s fixture served as another reminder of what clubs can do in the fight for equality.

With it being a groundbreaking fixture for the 410 in attendance, there was also a managerial appearance from none other than Peter Crouch, who is director of football with Hamlet. 

game of football

Crouchy was in fact helping out with TRUK FC, acting as manager for the day. Dulwich were even donning limited edition jerseys just for the occasion that were raffled off with all proceeds going to Trans Radio UK.

It was a feel good atmosphere around Champion Hill, with a message of tolerance and inclusivity underlying the fixture. 

Dulwich put on a great display, showing why they’re a club looking to climb the women’s leagues. They were ruthless and the match finished 7:0 to the semi-professional side.

But the result was almost irrelevant, marking a groundbreaking day for everyone involved.

The TRUK fans continued chanting long after the result was decided and the scenes throughout the clubhouse afterwards were heartwarming.

As TRUK and Dulwich continue to work, fighting for equality, representation and visibility for everyone involved in the game, clubs higher up the pyramid could look and learn from events like this at Champion Hill.