The York Templars Twitter Takeover for LGBT History Month
The York RI Templars are a York RI RUFC associated and International Gay Rugby (IGR) affiliated club. We formed after the York Pride committee were approached by England Rugby with a vision to create an inclusive team within the city. In June 2019 the local England Rugby team attended York Pride to help promote the new opportunities and increase awareness. Following Pride, a series of six rugby training sessions, hosted by York RI RUFC and coached by England Rugby coaches, were organised.
Because the training was so popular, attracting 26 people, the team decided to carry on training throughout the summer to continue to developing their skills. The club was supported by York RI RUFC with two coaches from the club now carrying out the weekly roles and further developing the players.
The York RI Templars played their first match on October 19 against neighbouring IGR Team, the Leeds Hunters. Since then we have played against Hull Roundheads, alongside Sheffield Vulcans, and with the York RI teams internally with the second team.
The club is there to provide an opportunity for those who feel excluded from mainstream clubs. Sport has always been a grey area for LGBT+ people. Stonewall published a study that shows four in 10 LGBT people do not think sport is welcoming to them. Establishing this team in York, where everyone is accepted and included, is a big step in the right direction for the city to combat these issues.
Joining York RI Templars has helped some of its current players to overcome previous issues, including Jon Bramhall. He said: “When I joined, I was suffering from anxiety and depression at the time and hoped that the exercise and challenge of learning a new skill would help. Three months later and I am a different person. My mental health has improved and I am a much happier and more confident person.”
In between lockdowns the last year, we got back to training as we were lucky in York to be able to move back to the Return to Rugby roadmap, looking at fitness and adapting to the challenges of a contact sport with covid-safe measures. During various lockdowns we have worked hard to keep teammates motived via online fitness sessions, social activities with other RI teams, other IGR teams.
We are very excited to welcome new players and welcome back existing players as we return to training and look forward to the return of competitive rugby. We long for the days in the not too distant future when we can travel to and host teams from across the UK, and hopefully the team will grow to take part in the international IGR competitions around the world!
You can find out more about the history of the club here, which traces its history back to 1883.