A South Leeds sports club has found itself on the frontline of fighting for trans-gender rights.
The Sun carried the story today (9 December 2013) that Aeris Houlihan has been barred by the FA from playing in Sunday League matches for Middleton Park FC. Aeris was born male, but is undergoing gender reassignment and is now legally a woman.
The club has issued the following statement:
Middleton Park Football Club is proud to offer our support for Football v Homophobia. Prejudice and discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) people in football is unacceptable and Middleton Park Football Club are committed to creating safe and inclusive football environments for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Together with Football v Homophobia we will work to improve football for our LGBT supporters, players and fans and to protect the right of everyone to participate.
Oscar Antao the Club Media advisor said:
“We want football to take a clear stand against homophobia so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful game and so that football leads the way in removing discrimination and prejudice based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“We also support the fact she would like to play in a Ladies team as she is now legally a woman, she has a British passport and she should be allowed to compete as a woman, just as she is allowed to live as a woman in her everyday life.
“So as a club we fully support all our players who play for Middleton Park FC and will stand by them.”
Middleton Park FC work with the Leeds United Foundation to deliver free football skills training for women and girls aged 13+ of all abilities. Sessions run on Saturday mornings from 11am – 12:30pm at the club’s base on Cranmore Drive.