Through The Hoops

Hey Readers This poem is on the topic of gender transitioning as a football fan. As a Celtic fan it was a poem I knew I had to write, but it has been a long time coming. When it did come it was the result of a conversation with another writer who is not from the Celtic family which finally saw me write it.

This is I hope a poem which will tackle preconceived beliefs with regards to football and do it on two levels. Firstly I hope it will challenge the prejudice some people still have when it comes to female football fans and believe me there are plenty of us and secondly I hope it will challenge some well established macho attitudes that trans girls and trans women can’t be football fans.

As always when I am struggling to come up with a title I put two or three suggestions to a selected group of friends and let them decide what they think is most suitable and in recent months that responsibility has fallen to members of my Woman Talk Facebook group. Eventually a decision was reached and it was my good friend and fellow Celtic supporting poet Victoria McNulty who suggested that Through The Hoops was considering the topic the most appropriate selection. Personally I think this was a very wise choice and I hope you enjoy the read.

Through The Hoops

It was hard back in the day
gendered games were the only ones you could play
and football was a boy thing right
If this was ever true why did I go to games
with knickers and tights
discreetly placed under trousers
neutral lippy worn for evening kick offs
but never on Saturday’s
I didn’t want others questioning my sexuality
In those days I would hide myself
by singing louder than others
and shouting more abuse
than anyone else at referees
meanwhile guilty pleasures
were kept locked in my heart as opposition players
made me week at the knees
even if they played for our deadliest rivals
though this was never admitted
not even to other girls
it’s a football thing
If you don’t like the game
you wouldn’t understand
being trans would mean
a few jokes directed at you
in the bar after the game
but the shame of fancying one of them
would be too much for diehards to handle
the scandal of it all
would have friends questioning your taste
It’s a matter of faith
there are some things
a trans tim just can’t do
like liking a player who wears light blue
our fans are a liberal bunch
providing you stick by the team
the glory and dream are what matters to us
the Jock Stein stand was buzzing
in my season book years
when I was lucky enough
to cheer a great Celtic side
filled with passion, power, purpose
and pride in a jersey which doesn’t shrink to fit inferior players
and when those guys wore the hoops
they played with flair
which is the Celtic way
they were the best looking team ever to play the game
at a time when paradise lived up to its name
I had lustful thoughts about at least five or six of our players
secretly fantasised about what I would wear on a date with any or all of them
at the next home game like Cinderella
I would go to the ball again
you see football was never quite the boy thing some would  make it out
you can sing and shout
as much as you like
the truth is something you’ll never hide 
you are who are you and always will be
the world is not the referee of your story
the glory and the dream are all  that matters
I  play to win just like the team
remembering green is part of the rainbow
and though I’ve been through the hoops
before my game changing moment of glory
now wearing skirts to the game
this trans women tells her Celtic story
with pride 

@ Gayle Smith 2016

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