(Photo via agenciapresentes.org)

The Ciervos Pampas, created six years ago, are just like any other rugby club in Buenos Aires: they meet twice weekly to train, play in tournaments and organize social events for players. But if you look a little closer, they are ahead of the game (pun intended) in many respects.

As Argentina’s first rugby club to actively encourage and support sexual diversity, the Ciervos Pampas is the only club in the whole region to be a member of the group ‘International Gay Rugby’. They provide training for those wanting to play rugby in an open and inclusive environment, without the usual stereotypes and assumptions made about rugby players.

Does this mean that the stereotype sustaining that rugby is a sport exclusive to the upper class, heterosexual white male, could perhaps be changing?

Via Ciervo Pampas.
Via Ciervo Pampas.

 

Challenging outdated stereotypes, the Ciervos Pampas aim to break down the barriers that put potential members off playing in the first place. They demonstrate an awareness of diversity that is often not present enough in other sports clubs. Their view that anyone who wants to play rugby can (and should!) be equally included, without any thought given to their sexual orientation or background, is certainly refreshing.

The club prides itself on its open and accepting community in which any sexuality can be expressed without fear of prejudice or discrimination. While many players do identify within the LGBT community, this is not the case for everyone: many team players simply participate because of the club’s inclusive and accommodating atmosphere, something that they haven’t found elsewhere within the rugby sphere (shocker).

Rugby for all. Photo via Ciervos Pampas.
Rugby for all. (Photo via Ciervos Pampas.)

 

While Ciervos Pampas are an excellent example of a tolerant, open and non–discriminatory community, it’s clear that homophobia is still a serious problem within and outside of the sports world: for example, you may have read about the terrible, life changing homophobic attack experienced by Jonathan Castellari back in December of last year. Attacked by a group of men at a McDonald’s in Palermo after a night out, he was severely beaten up and taken to hospital where doctors feared he would lose an eye.

This horrifying incident has only made the club’s stance stronger, and they stand together more unified than ever to tackle homophobia in sport and beyond. The club continues growing to fight for the equality of the LGBT community as well as knock down stereotypes about rugby and its players.

Via Ciervo Pampas
Via Ciervo Pampas

 

With their sights set on a School of Human Rights being opened, Ciervos Pampas wants to create frequent meetings that include open discussion on subjects ranging from gender and diversity to human rights and the LGBT community. Believing that discussion should be free, open and without barriers, the informal talks will act as a way of educating people of what work still needs to be done.

Also aware that it is not just sexuality that could be a barrier to rugby participation, the club hopes to fund more discount memberships for those who may not have enough disposable income for a club membership.

Acknowledging that rugby is a costly game, Ciervos Pampas recognizes the need for funding, in order that their work in inclusion and diversity can continue. They frequently organize themed social events in aid of the club which are open to anyone who wants to join. To find out more or sign up for a training session see the Ciervos Pampas Facebook page.