IDAHOT 2017 – let’s take a look how the Berlin Bruisers tackle discrimination since 2012

| Gay inclusive Rugby |

Today, it’s IDAHOT – International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Let’s take a look at the Berlin Bruisers since 2012, when a few gay Brits and Irish met in Berlin to play rugby in Tiergarten.

I’ve been playing for the Bruisers in the league for a while, but let’s face it, rugby is and remains an injury-intensive sport, and after plenty of ligament rupture and uppercuts I decided to go into the second row, from where I do the press work for the Bruisers. And aside from the hard league training fortunately there is the Gentlemen’s training, where not only old bones like me get to run around around, but anyone who wants to have fun with a rugbyball can join in.

gareth thomas berlin bruisers
World-famous rugbyplayer Gareth Thomas at the Bash About in Berlin 2014

But now to the Bruisers: founded in 2012 at a Schöneberger pub night, the Bruisers quickly attracted great interest in the gay world of Berlin, and especially in its ex-pat community. The attendance at the weekend fun started to grow rapidly – a club was sure to follow! Then everything grew rapidly. The fresh young club created an international gay rugby tournament, named „Bash About“. It takes place  in Berlin every second year (2014, 2016). Gay Rugby is largely new in Germany, but interntionally and especially in the traditional rugbynations, there is a great gay rugby community. And so every two years, more than 100 players from all over the world travel to Berlin to the Bash About and the preparations for Bash About 2018 are already in motion!

Visibility and social projects

Berlin Bruisers social projects
Bruisers diversity-project at the Deutsch-Skandinavische Gemeinschaftsschule

In Berlin, the Bruisers became an indispensable part of the gay community and can be seen at every Christopher Street Day and Street Fair. They carry out anti-bullying workshops, currently at the German-Scandinavian Community School in Berlin Moabit.

berlin bruisers lgbti refugees
Flyer for LGBTI-Refugees

A goal that is unfortuantely still unfulfilled is to support the LGBTI refugee community in Berlin. So if you have any good connections here and want to work with us, please report! LGBTI-refugess are warmly welcome to the Bruisers training, and we also happy to support other projects.

Since 2014 the Berlin Bruisers are regular participants of the German rugby league. Recently the Bruisers played against the Berlin club SC Siemensstadt. The final score was 22:32 against the Bruisers. Nevertheless, if you’ve watched the Bruisers in their league development, there is only one thing to say: there are worlds between the first matches in the league and the latest game against Siemensstadt.

Being part of the german rugby league

The Bruisers have developed from a rather chaotic heap to a force in the league which should be reckoned with. 22 points against a big and traditional team like Siemensstadt –  what an excellent result!

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I took a friend to the game, who had nothing to do with the Bruisers before. After a while he asked. “Are the Bruisers all gay?”. I had to deny this – because the Bruisers also include a lot of great heterosexual guys. And I realised that I do not know exactly who is playing for which team (Well, they all play in ONE team!).  Or, to say it more directly, who is gay and who is not. Every gay sports club is aware that there is a lot of talk about the purpose and necessity of gay sports clubs. But to have a place where you can be certain not to hear stupid things said is just one of the reasons. And even if it were be the only reason, its good enough.

Training open for anyone and everyone

But it was a great moment to realise that I dont have to know who of the Berlin Bruisers is gay and who is not – because I can be sure hat no one of them has any problem with homosexuality. On the contrary, for many it is certainly an enrichment to get to know other ways of life, and perhaps also to see their own prejudices be dissolved. And this also applies to both sides! I think the Bruisers definitely acheived their goal of creating an atmosphere where everyone is welcome.

Anyway, anyone and everyone is invited to the training. The league training, which takes place every Tuesday and Thursday is more advanced. The Gentlemen’s training is more for fun and socialising. This training is the ideal place for beginners so they get a feel for rugby before deciding if they want to take it more seriously. Everyone is welcome, no matter of your age, sex, gender, or physicality. By the way, gentlMEN may not be totally correct any more! This training is in combination with our friends from the The Berlin Irish RFC e.V.. , and they bring along a lot of great female players. So here we are at another point on the wishlist and upcoming Bruisers-ideas … to establish a female Bruisers team!

Lets see where the journeys gets to …

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