Queering the field? The complexities of sexuality within a lesbian-identified football team in England
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Authors: Caudwell, J.
Journal: Gender, Place and Culture
Lesbian-identified sports teams provide a challenge to the heterosexing, and heterogendering, of sport and sport space. An 'out' lesbian football (soccer) team can be understood as offering resistance to compulsory heterosexuality. It is this disruption of normative sexuality that can be described as queer and contributes to the queering of sport space. Given evidence of obdurate heteronormativity in most sporting arenas, such a team could be described as a queer community. However, a critical engagement with lesbian subversion is necessary before claiming lesbian 'subjects' as queer 'subjects'. In this vein, the discussions that follow reflect an engagement with marginalised sex-gender-sexuality identities within a specific lesbian sport community in London, England. Relatively little is known about the social relations that exist within lesbian sporting communities. Through an engagement with femme-inine players and transsexual players this article aims to highlight the diversity of sex-gender-sexuality experiences. Moreover, it demonstrates the tensions and complexities within a particular footballing sub-culture, which can be described as both queer and anti-queer. In this way it contributes to developments in the feminist-queer theorising of the spatiality of sexuality. The research is drawn from a larger ethnographic study of the team, which includes analysis of archival materials and club documents, semi-structured interviews and participant observation.