The gay rugby story reads like a family tree, with births, name changes, divorces and sadly deaths. It is for this very reason that we often refer to the many clubs around the world as a “family”.
The first stirrings of this family came in the 1980s with several southern hemisphere clubs attempting to get off the ground, but sadly not lasting long enough to become officially registered.
It was on 1st November 1995 that a small group of gay men met in the Central Station pub near King’s Cross, North London, UK to discuss the formation of the world’s first OFFICIALLY recognised Gay Rugby Club.
The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or Bingham Cup as it is more widely known, is the biennial world championships of gay and inclusive rugby.
The tournament was first held in 2002 in memory of 9/11 gay rugby hero Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who fought back against hijackers on board United flight 93. While Mark and all on the flight tragically lost their lives when the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, it is widely recognised that through the actions of those brave individuals on board, the plane did not continue on to its intended target.
As a gay man and regular rugby player, Mark played for San Francisco Fog as well as helping to set up Gotham Knights in New York City.
Mark’s legacy sees rugby players, supporters and staff from around the world coming together every two years in a celebration of equality, inclusivity and sportsmanship.
74 teams from 20 countries participated in the most recent Bingham Cup in Amsterdam in June 2018. Current World champions are Sydney Convicts.