GAME ON – queer disruptions in sport
(documentary, 63 min., 2020)
Logline: Gay runners, a lesbian boxer, an intersexual rower. and a transwoman footballer, all on one team! Can you imagine them?
Gay runners, a lesbian boxer, an intersex rower and a transwoman footballer, all on one team! Can you imagine them? They are athletes whose lives are unseen, unimaginable to society.
In recent years, LGBTIQ+ people in sport have become more visible yet so many still stay in the closet, especially in professional sport.
Amateur LGBTIQ+ sports clubs exist around the world with a huge increase in the last 30 years. These groups provide a safe space for LGBTIQ+ athletes with diverse identities.
The film portrays 5 protagonists from 4 different countries, each disrupting amateur sport with their gay, lesbian, trans and intersex identities. They talk candidly about their sports journeys, their individual experiences and their private life.
Giving LGBTIQ+ athletes visibility helps to break down barriers of ignorance and discrimination. Sport has the capacity to be inclusive, overcome prejudice and to empower marginalised groups. Game on.
Society knows very little, if anything, about the participation and acceptance of LGBTQIA – lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, intersexual and asexual – athletes in amateur sports. To raise their visibility and to create a fuller understanding of the issues they face, this documentary provides a forum for LGBTQIA athletes to share their personal experiences. The athletes selected for this film are from Europe – Scotland, Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria; the film ends with their participation in the 2018 Paris Gay Games. There are five protagonists from various backgrounds, each with different personal struggles and experiences and pursuing different goals that reflect the unique history and society of each country. While the problems they must overcome to achieve tolerance and acceptance are the same, their answers are very different.
The Scottish athlete, Natalie, is a 25-year-old lesbian boxer. She enjoys bodybuilding, training primarily with men, but also with women. Her athletic club is very tolerant and supportive. Her coach was a famous professional boxer and a friend of Muhammad Ali. He believes Natalie is ready for international competition and is working with her to prepare her for the Paris Gay Games. Natalie comes from a working class family. Her father could not accept her identity, which created an emotionally unsupportive home environment. Participating in sport in the safe space provided by her club has helped her regain her self confidence.
The German athlete, Jessi, is a 39-year-old trans soccer coach. Before transitioning from male to female, Jessi was a professional football player. He began to transition at age 30; after the transition, she continued to play football on a women’s team. Having taken hormones for many years, the German Sport Federation considered her to be female. However, after being knifed by a woman on an opposing team, Jessi needed to leave the team. Although disappointed, she found a place on an exclusively lesbian, trans football team, which gave her a safe space for sports… and the opportunity to play football with her girlfriend.
The Hungarian Csaba and Benjamin are gays and runners. The 30 years old Csaba is a short distance runner, the 23 years old Benjamin is a marathonist. They have different family background, Csaba was born in Transylvania as a Hungarian minority in Romania, after finishing the university he came to Hungary to live openly as gay. Benjamin was born in a poor family in South-Hungary, his father joined to a neonazi group and beaten Benjamin after his coming out. Benjamin escaped to the capital city Budapest and joined to the LGBTQIA sport club Atlasz. Csaba leads the running class where Benjamin joined. Both has got an activist heart and they believe with doing sport openly as a gay helps other LGBTQIA persons who are still living in the closet.
The Bulgarian athlete, Pol, is an intersexual ex-rower in their 50’s. They were born in a small village in the Bulgarian mountains. At an early age, they joined a professional rowing club. Because they were intersexual, however, they were not allowed to compete with female rowers. This was the first big traumatic break in their lives. Later, Pol joined the Bulgarian LGBTQIA activist group, first identifying as lesbian but later, openly, as intersexual. They continue to row as amateurs and have became leaders in the European Trans and Intersexual Group.
Best LGBTQ film Toronto International Women Film Festival, Toronto, Canada – 2022
Divine Queer Film Festival, Torino, Italy – 2022
Luleå International Film Festival, Lulea, Sweden – 2021
Leeds Queer Film Festival, Leeds, U.K.– 2023
Out On Film: Atlanta’s LGBTQ Film Festival , Atlanta, USA – 2022
Alvsbyn Film Festival, Norrbotten Sweden – 2021
Alexandre Trauner ART/Film Festival , Szolnok, Hungary– 2021
transition international queer & minorities film festival, Vienna, Austria – 2021
Festival Mix: Cine y Diversidad Sexual/ Film & Sexual Diversity, Mexico – 2021
Sportfilm Liberec, Liberec, Czech Republic – 2021
Courage Film Festival, Berlin, Germany – 2021
Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Palm Springs, USA – 2021
Sofia Biting Docs, Sofia, Bulgaria – 2020
Peloponnisos International documentary Festival, Kalamata, Greece – 2021
Thessaloniki Int. G.L.A.D. Film Festival (LGBTI+), Thessaloniki, Greece – 2021