South Africa’s first gay rugby team have raised eyebrows with a gay slur-centred recruitment campaign.
The Johannesburg-based Jozi Cats, a newly-formed gay and inclusive South African competative rugby team, launched their recruitment campaign ‘What Kind of Player Are You’ this week (May 4).
The campaign features a series of provocative photos and captions, which the team says intends to challenge the stereotypes that exist around gay players.
Players are photographed wearing fearsome rubgy expressions, with taglines bearing different homophobic slurs like ‘Queen’, ‘Pillow-biter’ and ‘Pansy’. The “disruptive and sensitive” campaign was the result of a collaboration between Jozi Cats and a public relations firm, Havas Public Relations South Africa.
“We did research about derogatory terms for gay men that would translate to a wider audience — trust me, there are some truly awful ones out there — and so we picked the ones that didn’t need explanation, that we could represent visually and walked the fine line between acceptable and offensive,” Chris Verrijdt, head of Havas, told The Huffington Post.
“A stereotype isn’t who you are,” says chairman Teveshan Kuni in a behind-the-scenes video from the campaign’s photoshoot. “Your sexuality doesn’t determine your success in life, and a lot of the guys who have joined our club are interested in rugby but have never been given the opporrtunity to play before because largely they felt held back by their sexuality.”
“So the campaign for us is huge, because we’re looking to debunk stereotypes and to challenge the preconception that because you don’t look like a conventional rugby player, that you can’t be a conventional rugby player.”
“We completely just want to show people that rugby is a sport like anything else. It’s skills, it’s fitness, it’s love and it’s dedication.”
“And if you’ve got all of that, you can be successful in anything – even rugby!”