Cape Town - SA Rugby has proudly endorsed a TAG rugby exhibition match between the Jozi Cats - South Africa’s first gay and inclusive competitive rugby team - and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday in celebration of Human Rights Day as the sport strives to achieve equality for all on and off the field.
The match will form part of the #PrideInRugby tournament at Diggers Rugby Club in Randburg, Johannesburg, and is one of several activities endorsed by the SAHRC throughout the country during human rights month to emphasise the value of respect for human rights in the country.
Through the clash the participants hope to raise awareness about inequality on and off the rugby field, educate against homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and advocate for acceptance and respect for human rights in general.
“SA Rugby wholeheartedly supports this initiative by the Jozi Cats and South African Human Rights Commission, and we would like to congratulate them on the imitative,” said SA Rugby president, Mark Alexander.
“Rugby is all-inclusive, and everyone participating in the game should be treated equally and should feel free to be themselves on and off the field, regardless of their gender, race and sexual orientation. There is no place for discrimination in the game.”
Alexander added: “I would like to thank the Jozi Cats for the role they are playing in changing the face of the game and for their determination to show that there is a place for everyone in rugby.”
Jozi Cats chairperson, Chris Verrijdt, said: “To date, there have been no openly gay rugby players or officials in high level rugby in the country.
“The participation of Jozi Cats in formal rugby structures can therefore play a role in reducing damaging stereotypes, encouraging greater participation of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) people in rugby and fostering goodwill in the sport which can reduce discrimination in the future.”
The #PrideInRugby tournament will run from 07:30 on Wednesday, March 21 to 15:00 and members of the public are invited to participate.