Brennan Bastyovanszky, 42, has played football since childhood and loves the game — except for what he describes as the prevalence of homophobic language inside mainstream clubs.
So early this year, he helped revive the Vancouver Rogues, a rugby club inclusive to players of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
The club secretary says he has detected plenty of homophobic language from teammates during his 25 years as a rugby player in B.C., Ontario and Sydney, Australia.
“Most people at rugby clubs do not like hearing that kind of language. It’s extremely a small portion of the people that will still make insensitive and inappropriate comments,” he told host Stephen Quinn on CBC’s the first Edition.
“But the thing is that a lot of individuals just go along with it,” he continued . “The reason why it persists that there is no one in the club has been told that they are responsible for setting the culture.”
Bastyovanszky says many LGBTQ and even straight players leave rugby clubs as a results of the toxic behaviour.
“There were even occasions when I was confronted, physically threatened by people on my very own team,” said Bastyovanszky, who later joined the Sydney Convicts, which describes itself as the 1st gay and inclusive rugby union club in Australia.
“It’s continually been … tough now and then. but ever since I came out and found that gay rugby has a immense following … I feel safe and comfortable being myself in rugby currently.”
He set to revive the Vancouver Rogues, which had been active from 2002 to 2008, once returning to Vancouver early this year and found that the Bingham Cup, the biennial world championships of gay and inclusive rugby, was being held in Ottawa next August — and there wasn’t a team representing the province.
Michael Blais, 45, joined the Vancouver Rogues this summer and has practiced with the team once or twice every week since. He says as a straight man is in a gay relationship, he appreciates the club’s accepting culture.
“We all get to be ourselves a little bit more without having to be guarded,” Blais said. “We all understand everybody’s gay, everyone is aware of that i’m polyamorous … there isn’t any hiding.”
“It’s wonderful seeing smiles on their faces … it’s an incredible thing to watch from the inside.”
Get Canada and Yukon’s top News, Market News ,and other News of USA and worldwide only on yukonweekly.com