Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player Danny Perez (standing) and his partner Jonathan Buckley cuddle on the balcony of their condo on Monday July 4, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. Perez is one of Muddy York Rfc's best players. He marched, along with his teammates, in the pride parade the day before. The past month was an epic one for Muddy York Rfc. The club, for the first time ever, participated in the Bingham Cup with a full side. Muddy York Rfc is Toronto's only inclusive rugby side. The team primarily competes against "straight" sides in the Toronto Rugby Union and is affiliated with the International Gay Rugby Board.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's Head Coach and player Eric DeMarbre prepares the team's line up for the Bingham Cup opener, as he rides the bus with his players to the Ted Rhodes Park, on Friday May 27, 2016, in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bingham Cup is the second largest rugby event of the world, often labelled as the LGBTQ Rugby World Cup. DeMarbre has coached Muddy York Rfc since 2013 and played for the club since 2009. So far he has taken part in four Bingham Cups. DeMarbre identifies as an athletic gay guy and started playing rugby back in 2005 with the Vancouver Rogues, the pioneers of gay/inclusive rugby in Canada. When he moved to Toronto, before joining Muddy York, he played one year for a 'straight' side, the Toronto 'Nomads'. That's when he started feeling uncomfortable with some of his teammates. "Every time we had to play Muddy York the jokes and the comments, especially from the younger players, did not make me feel comfortable," he said.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's players settle in the dorms at Vanderbilt University on Wednesday May 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt University housed 45 gay/inclusive rugby sides during the Nashville 2016 Bingham Cup.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's boys are seen in the team's tent getting ready ahead of their Bingham cup game against the Amsterdam Lowlanders on Friday May 27, 2016, at the Ted Rhodes Park in Nashville, Tennessee. The typical 'straight' locker room kept several queer players away from rugby or sport for years. Jokes, stereotypes and homophobic slurs contributed to enhance that sense of exclusion. According to Muddy York Rfc President John Jeffery inclusive sides will exist as long as they are needed. They will eventually dissolve once inclusion in rugby is no longer an issue.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player Michael Smith carries the ball against the Nashville Grizzlies during the semifinal of the Hoagland Shield on Sunday May 29, 2016, at the Ted Rhodes Park, in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville beat Toronto 15-0. The Muddy's boys finished the tournament with two wins and two losses, marking an historical edition of the Bingham cup. The team's next goal is to gain the first win ever against a 'straight' side.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's Tournaments Manager and player Pedro Marcelino is seen driving his car through the Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge on his way to the 2016 Nashville Bingham Cup on Tuesday May 24, 2016. Several of Muddy York's players reached Tennessee by car pooling. Muddy York placed a bid to host the 2018 Bingham Cup. The club has to beat the Amsterdam Lowlanders and the Caledonian Thebans, who also joined the race. Despite the fierce competition Muddy York Rfc hopes to bring the tournament to Toronto through the support of the other North American teams.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club players Michael Smith, left, Devin McCarney, centre, and John Paul Markides are photographed during a rehearsal for their performance at the annual team's fundraiser drag show on Saturday November 5, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. Fundraisers, along with sponsorships, play a major role for the team's season budget. Each player pays an annual fee to the club, that covers the uniforms, practice facilities and Rugby Ontario fees. Muddy York helps or provides players who can't afford the payment, with an exemption.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's players Carlo Vitelli (right) and David Cameron Donnachie smoke weed outside the club Phoenix on Sunday September 4, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. Ever since the birth of Muddy York Rfc, back in 2003, its players and members have involuntarily challenged and deconstructed the concept of masculinity. Some of the past and current guys have experienced discrimination and bullying in their lives as well as on the pitch. The club provides a safe space for players and members to be themselves and play the game they love.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player John Paul Markides (left) kisses his partner and teammate Kasimir Kosakowski during the pride parade on Sunday July 3, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. The couple has been together for roughly two years. They joined Muddy York Rfc together one and a half years ago. Markides, out for the season due to an injury, is always around to support the team and his partner, and to take part in the club's social events.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's President, John Jeffery (standing in the foreground), and a few players sit exhausted during the pride parade on Sunday July 3, 2016, in Toronto Ontario. The annual parade has just been interrupted by a Black Lives Matter protest. The activists asked the organizers to ban the police float from the next edition. As soon as the Muddy York's boys came to know the issue a big discussion sparkled among the players about inclusion, the club's mission.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's boys are seen during the Toronto's Pride parade showcasing a few rugby skills for the crowd on Sunday July 3, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. The Pride week is generally a promotional period for the club to recruit new players and help queer individuals to get out of the closet and be involved in a team sport.
Muddy Rugby Football Club's players (left to right) John Paul Markides, Jimmy Karttunen, Danny Perez and Marc Godin prank each other in the street ahead of the 2016 Toronto's Pride parade on Sunday July 3, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's teammates David Fudge, left, and MIchael Smith are seen during an intimate moment on Saturday July 2, 2016, at the Four Season Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. The couple is in town to spend the weekend with the team
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's forwards push the scrum at Jarvis Collegiate Ground on Thursday May 28, 2015, in Toronto, Ontario. The scrum is a key component of rugby and definitely an aspect of the game that makes it recognizable worldwide. Its main purpose is to gain "territory" and conquer the ball but also bring a team together and showcase its strength and unity.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's captain Jimmy Karttunen (left) and teammate Carlo Vitelli (right) walk with performer Demanda Tension along Church Street, the heart of Toronto's gay village, on Friday September 2, 2016. The trio is headed to Woody's for the opening ceremony of the Beaver Bowl, the annual Labor Day weekend tournament hosted by Muddy York Rfc, that features inclusive and straight sides.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player Ryan Walker, prominent, appreciates a naked guy on TV, at Woody's on Friday September 2, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. The team is an established reality in the Church and Wellesley Gay Village. All the team's "third halves" or "beer times" after games or practices are mostly happening in the local bars with a few exceptions for some away games.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's rookie player Kevan Hannah dances with Demanda Tension during the Beaver Bowl opening ceremony at Woody's on Friday September 2, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. The 2016 Beaver Bowl edition featured three American teams and three Canadian ones. Muddy York Rfc will host the next edition of the tournament in Montreal, to help the local inclusive team, the Armada, to develop its brand and audience.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club and the Ottawa Wolves compete for a line out during a pool game at the 2016 Bingham Cup on Saturday May 28, 2016, at the Ted Rhodes Park, in Nashville,Tennessee. The group stage showcased a fierce Canadian rivalry resulting in Toronto edging Ottawa 6-0. The game's reprise happened in the Beaver Bowl final last September 4, 2016, when Ottawa defeated Toronto 34-17, shattering Muddy York's dream of lifting up its first trophy ever.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player John Paul Markides, right, is seen in the toilette of his apartment before heading to Pegasus for the annual team's fundraiser, while teammate Michael Smith, left, awaits for him, on Saturday November 9, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. Markides is dressed as a nun. When he was younger he spent time in a seminar wanting to become a priest. He eventually dropped out as he did not agree with the Roman Catholic approach towards homosexuality.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's Head Coach and player Eric DeMarbre (left) watches a Game of Thrones episode along with his partner Stuart Floyd at his home on Friday July 1, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. During the rugby offseason DeMarbre is an hockey aficionado and avid Montreal Canadienne fan. He met his partner Stuart in a recreational gay hockey league. Australian born Floyd grew up playing rugby but when he moved to Canada fell in love with hockey and started playing it. According to DeMarbre inclusion in Canada's national sport is still a mirage, with hockey being way behind rugby in terms of stereotypes and poor acceptance.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player Dave Fudge, right, helps his boyfriend and teammate Michael Smith to fix his wig on Saturday November 5, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. Smith is the official host of the annual Muddy York Rfc's fundraiser. He joined the team at the beginning of the current season along with his partner. The couple lives in Hamilton, roughly 70 Km away from Toronto, and travels several times a week to the city for games and practices.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player Andrew Hsueh, left, and the club's President John Jeffery share a laugh as Jeffery shows an old picture of himself on Saturday June 20, 2015, in Toronto, Ontario. Jeffery suggested that the picture he showed was probably from 2003, Muddy York Rfc's year of birth.
Muddy York Rugby Football Club's player Andrew Hsueh films an emotional moment between the team's President John Jeffery and Director of Recruitments Ian Gibbs, on Saturday November 26, 2016, during the awards ceremony at the team's end of season banquet, in Toronto, Ontario. John Jeffery (prominent) joined Muddy York Rfc when the club was born back in 2003. He played for the team for four years, before moving to the board of the club. He has served as Muddy York Rfc's president for the past three years. At nearly 60, Jeffery has recently decided to step down and the club awarded him with a lifetime membership for his loyalty and services.
The New York Gotham Knights players celebrate their Bingham Plate win over the London King's Cross Steelers on Sunday May 29, 2016, at the Ted Rhodes Park, in Nashville, Tennessee. New York edged London 14-12. The Gotham Knights were established back in 2001, after September 11, when Mark Bingham, the former gay rugby player after whom the cup is named, and New York Gotham Knights virtual founder, gave his life as a hero on board of the flight United 93. Muddy York Rugby Football Club looks at the Gotham Knights as a true model in terms of players development, growth and inclusiveness.