The Gay Games, which recently opened in Hong Kong this past weekend, are the first large-scale LGBTQ+ sports games held in Hong Kong in recent years. Seven-a-side football is one of the competitive events. Most of the participating teams are corporate teams, and there are also some players from the men’s Hong Kong Priemier League or the women’s first division.
HKFC is the only local top league team that signed up to participate in the Gay Games. They organized two teams to participate in the event and both successfully advanced to the quarter-finals of the cup. The main members are composed of the women’s first team, and the team members come from various teams of the Hong Kong Association. As well as friendship, for example, former Hong Kong Club striker Robert Scott, who currently plays for Division One Wing Yi, also made a guest appearance for HKFC on the first day of the game, and the women’s team coach also played for the team.
In addition, the conference also invited the HKFC Crusaders team to play an exhibition match with the sponsor’s employee football team. HKFC Crusaders is a team of players with special needs. HKFC provides them with basic football training and hopes that the players will gain confidence through football activities.
“This tournament is open to all genders. We are aware that some teams may be very physical, so we try to balance the teams. Both teams have male and female players.” HKFC vice-captain Gina Benjamin is one of the promoters of this participation. She believes that the Gay Games means a lot to herself and other people in the team.
“This competition is very important to us. There are members on the team who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, so everyone is very happy to have the opportunity to show support for the community. When I said in the club that I wanted to form a team to compete , everyone is very supportive and excited, and celebrating the entire LGBTQ+ community. We are attending the Gay Games during the day this weekend and also have a league match against Grace Citizens in the evening. Since other teams also have games on the weekend, this may This is what makes it difficult for other teams to participate in the Gay Games.”
The Gay Games received criticism from many conservatives before it was unveiled, and the scale was smaller than originally planned.
“It was affected by the epidemic, and this competition did not receive much government support, so other projects could not be held in good public venues. It’s a shame, but no matter how difficult the situation is, the game must go on.”
“Some people criticize the Gay Games as being against national security, but we are just playing sports. No matter what the evaluation of the Gay Games is, the public has different discussions. Many people do not know that the Gay Games is held in Hong Kong. Maybe this way everyone will There are many questions, what are Gay Games? What are LGBTQ+? This is a good platform for us to compete together, everyone can participate, regardless of their gender, identity, ability, we are open to everyone.”
Gina started participating in football training at the age of 15 and once played for Sheffield United.
She came to Hong Kong 7 years ago and has been working in the education industry ever since. In August this year, she married Beck, who was from Australia and met in Hong Kong, at the British Embassy in Vietnam.
In terms of her football career, when Gina first came to Hong Kong, she contacted the Eastern District Women’s Team online and later switched to Kitchee. He has played for the Hong Kong Club for the past three years and is currently the team’s vice-captain.
“I am a full-time worker, and it is difficult to meet the requirements of a semi-professional team. I am married and have my own social life. For me, I still enjoy football, but life balance is very important to me.”
Football under the rainbow
Having competed in women’s football tournaments all over the world for many years, Gina admitted that she is very lucky because she has never been prejudiced or discriminated against due to her sexual orientation during her football career.
“The craze of the Women’s World Cup has been helpful in promoting women’s football. Starting last season, some football teams in Hong Kong The semi-professionalization of the team is a good starting point, but overall football is still a male-dominated sport. The LGBTQ+ culture of men’s football and women’s football is very different.”
“You rarely hear of male players coming out, anywhere, at any level, but in the world of women’s football, there are so many professional players who have come out. I imagine in the world of men’s football, the prejudice and discrimination It’s still very serious. If a male player comes out, he will receive a lot of criticism or even bullying, which will have a very negative impact on him. But in the women’s team, this will not be a problem at all.”
The HKFC has long competed in the Women’s League One. As one of the team captains, Gina will wear a rainbow armband when playing. This tradition has continued since Gina played for the team, and may have started earlier.
“Rainbow armbands are a global movement, and captains of many teams will wear rainbow armbands. Today’s football is a sport that everyone can participate in. Many different people participate in football, so this is to show their support for them. Support. I wear a rainbow armband and I am a gay, and the last captain was Straight. The HKFC captain has been wearing rainbow armbands for many seasons. This is something that the members of the HKFC Women’s Team support.”
|Name||Georgina Lydia Benjamin “Gina”|