The 10th Bingham Cup, known as the Gay Rugby World Cup, is scheduled to start later this week in Ottawa, Canada.
LGBTQI players from 20 participating countries, including Australia, will take part in the tournament, hosted by the local team Ottawa Wolves, from August 17 to August 21, 2022. The world’s largest amateur rugby union tournament is named after Mark Bingham, a hero of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Australia’s favorite gay rugby team, Sydney Convicts are the current holders of the Bingham Cup. Ämong those who will challenge the Convicts are their “arch rivals” Kings Cross Steelers and San Francisco Fog.
“The Bingham Cup is a legacy and honor for our club. A platform to compete, celebrate and honor both the history and future of Gay & Inclusive Rugby,” the Convicts posted on Instagram.
Australian Gay Rugby Teams Head To Ottawa
The Convicts’ jersey has an indigenous print to reflect the Gadigal people and was designed by Wiradjuri man Dylan Pietsch from the NSW Waratahs and Australia A teams.
“We are very proud that at the 2022 Bingham Cup we will again be able to represent the many First Nations people who have played an enormous role in shaping the culture and values of our club and our community with an indigenous designed jersey,” the team posted on Instagram.
The other Australian gay rugby teams that are participating in the tournament include the Melbourne Chargers, the Brisbane Hustlers and the Perth Rams.
“The prospect of joining a team sport can be a confronting experience for members of our community,” the Melbounre Chargers said in a social media post during Pride Month. “Inclusive clubs like The Chargers exist to give people a chance to try something new, something challenging, and hopefully find an inner strength they didn’t know they had.”
‘We Play For Our Brothers And Sisters’
Brisbane Hustlers said that their tour kit for the Bingham Cup “celebrates Brisbane’s skyline and the history as “the river city”.”
“We play for Brisbane. We play for our brothers and sisters. We play for rugby’s sake,” the Hustlers said.
The Perth Rams said that their jersey design included the names of all the players who have played for the team in the past four years. “We wanted to ensure all players past and present that couldn’t travel with us didn’t miss out on this momentous occasion for our club,” said the Rams.
Mark Bingham – A 9/11 Hero
The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament or the Bingham Cup is administered by the International Gay Rugby. It was named after the 9/11 gay rugby hero.
Bingham was one of the passengers of United flight 93, who along with some other passengers took on the hijackers of the flight on September 11, 2001.
The fight to take back control of the flight from the hijackers resulted in the plane crashing in a field in Pennsylvania, thwarting the original plan of the hijackers to possibly crash into the US Capitol building or the White House in Washington DC.
“Mark’s actions challenged common negative stereotypes about gay men being ‘weak,’ which is also something that gay rugby players do every time they take to the field,” the organizers said. The first tournament in 2002 was hosted by Mark’s club, the San Francisco Fog.
One of the stated aims of the Bingham Cup is to tackle homophobia in sports and foster an inclusive environment both on and off the field for LGBTQI sports persons.
“Homophobia remains a very serious problem in school and community rugby and all ‘traditionally male’ sports… The tournament fosters a safe space for players who have experienced hate and discrimination when playing in mainstream sports,” the organizers said.