The Rogues are an important part of the Rugby community in British Columbia. For Leo, the Club has provided an environment to combine two passions: playing Rugby and a stronger introduction into the LGBTQ+ community.
“For me, at a younger age, it would have meant the world knowing that a Club like this existed,” Leo said. “Not just for Rugby, as that was never part of my childhood, but I did fall into a trap in identifying being queer as being less likely to succeed in sport. I hope that people can look at our team and see what we are doing, how we’re getting better and learning the sport. It’s incredibly important to oneself to be aware of their sexual orientation and to be proud about it. It shouldn’t be a barrier to all the things you want to do in your life.”
Leo continued: “Rugby is a tough sport, and there is still a misinterpretation that gay people are not physical. There are many lazy tropes that are thrown our way. Our Club gets to be a counterpoint to that narrative. And we have a good number of straight players at the Club who appreciate the openness and the positivity we have. That’s an important aspect.”
“The Bingham Cup is going to be a really big celebration of the open, inclusive side of Rugby. It’s such a cool idea to have a tournament of this scale in Canada. We’re going to be there representing BC, and every team there is going to have a like-minded people that want to play hard, fast Rugby and then having fun off the field afterwards, win or lose.”
The Rogues, says Leo, have changed his life. Not just for creating an environment to feel welcome, but also acting as a catalyst for important conversations. Leo and his friend from Touch Rugby were recently talking about Nick McCarthy, a professional Rugby player for Leinster in Ireland, who came out publicly this week.
The conversation turned into a discussion about the need for public representation and creating awareness to change attitudes.
“Its important – we’re not quite there yet as a society, so there is a responsibility and there is something to gain about being public with it,” said Leo.
Last weekend’s trip down to Seattle to play the Quake, another gay and inclusive team that will be heading to the Bingham Cup, was a huge success. The Rogues played their most exciting game of Rugby to date; the forwards and backed linked together well to produce an impressive showing of running Rugby against a side that has been active for many years.
The team played with heart, soul and used the skills learned from BC Rugby coaches to secure an impressive 38-29 victory – a historic milestone for the Club that left Bastyovanszky proud.
Now, with the Bingham Cup on the horizon, it is time for the Rogues to put everything they have learned over the past year into practice. To go from nothing to representing BC on the international stage is quite the achievement.
“I don’t know what to expect but it’s going to be a really big celebration of the open, inclusive side of Rugby,” said Leo. It’s such a cool idea to have a tournament of this scale in Canada. We’re going to be there representing BC, and every team there is going to have a like-minded people that want to play hard, fast Rugby and then having fun off the field afterwards, win or lose.”