HotScots FC may not be a football team you’ve heard of before, but they’re a big deal. After all, they are Scotland’s first LGBT-friendly football club.
What makes them different from other football teams is that they are focused not only on winning on the pitch, but in breaking down the barriers between the LGBT community and mainstream football off the pitch, too.
HotScots are part of the UK-wide Gay Football Supporters Network League and there are no restrictions on who can be a member of the squad. This means you can play for HotScots regardless of your sexual orientation, your gender, your race, or your ethnicity.
Tom Chalmers has been a member of HotScots for 5 years and he believes that Scotland was the perfect place to get the team off the ground:
“Scotland is an open, welcoming society and there has always been that level of acceptance for the club since we've been in existence. […] I think because the majority of people in Scotland are supportive, open, welcoming, we've always found it really easy to provide the opportunities that we do for our members”.
The club has a warm environment that embraces diversity and one of the great strengths of the team is that they all have their own unique story and journey that brought them together. This camaraderie has seen them tour not only the UK, but also the rest of Europe. HotScots participate in the Euro Games, an international LGBT-friendly football tournament, and have travelled to Belgium, Sweden, Germany and France in their quest for footballing glory.
While football is at the centre of what brought the team together, there is also an amazing social aspect to the group. As many members have experienced difficulties in accessing sport, the team make great efforts to ensure everyone gets together regularly.
“The social aspect of the team is really important for everyone. On one level everyone's there to play football, but on a second level we're aiming to provide a social network for everyone to engage in and provide an opportunity for people to meet new people and meet like-minded people as well”.
HotScots are part of a growing network of LGBT-friendly sports clubs in Scotland that are dedicated to breaking down barriers across all sports. LGBT clubs can also be found across a range of other sports from badminton to rugby. The team also make sure to work within their local community to bring their message of inclusivity to a wider audience.
“We work with Leap Sports Scotland and we also fundraise with LGBT Youth Scotland. We're hoping to do more work with them to support young people who haven't had the sporting opportunities that some people in our team have had”.
We're very proud to be Scotland's first LGBT Football team; but, we're much more than that. We are a community club who welcome anyone with an interest in football - regardless of their gender, sexuality or nationality. We pride ourselves on being able to achieve this aim whilst still remaining competitive on the football pitch.
Tom believes that the respect they are given on the football field is directly related to how the LGBT community is treated in Scotland in all other walks of life. As one of the foremost countries in the field of LGBT rights, Scotland has a proud tradition of embracing LGBT rights and striving towards greater equality for everyone.
“I think Scotland is at the forefront of gay rights in Europe. I think Scotland is inclusive as a country, after all, we were one of the first countries in Europe to legalise gay marriage. I feel like, especially in the main cities, people are welcome to be themselves, they're open and there's places for everyone to express themselves and be who they want to be”.