First transgender referee 'honoured' by Guinness World Records inclusion
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Football's first transgender referee Lucy Clark has bravely revealed her journey from contemplating suicide to be awarded with a Guinness World Record.
The 51-year-old officiates matches in the Women's National League and grassroots level in the men's game. She has been open about her transition since 2018, being a trailblazer for the trans community.
However, Clark had initially turned her back on football out of fear of rejection for coming out but a heart attack caused her to embrace who she was and return to refereeing.
Now, five years on from transitioning, the referee will find herself included in the latest instalment of the Guinness Book of World Records and credits the sport for saving her life. "If I didn't have football, I wonder whether I'd actually be here," she told the organisation after feeling "honoured" by receiving her record.
"When I was young, I knew what was going on in my head and there were lots of things that young boys were doing that I didn't want to be doing. I didn't want to be playing soldiers but I could play football."
Lucy Clark is the first openly transgender football referee.— Guinness World Records (@GWR) June 30, 2023
This is her story 👇 pic.twitter.com/GnhyVFOfda
The 51-year-old then detailed her suicide attempt, revealing how Sutton United's home stadium Gander Green Lane helped her get down from a high-rise building.
Suicide prevention group Samaritans said in 2022 that one study found trans people were at twice the risk of suicide attempts compared to cisgender females and four times compared to cisgender males.
"I did try to commit suicide when I was younger," Lucy courageously explained. "I used to stand on the top of Balaam House, willing myself to jump. I'd go to the side that overlooks Sutton United. I'd have that focus and see that ground, which probably made me come down in a lift rather than other forms."
Fortunately, the referee is still continuing her good work as a trailblazer, keeping players in check on a weekly basis, despite still suffering some abuse, such as in the comments on Twitter after her record was publicised. "Replies and RT are not worth reading but hey it is what it is… #bulletproof," Clark tweeted.
"Refereeing, you just forget about everything," she went on to affirm in the interview. "Football's great for your mental health and your physical health. 2017-18 was going to be my last season refereeing, having been a referee for many years. I was in the process of transitioning and at that point, I didn't think that the football world would accept me."
Speaking to Mirror Football earlier this year, she demanded for more inclusivity in football. "There has to be a place for trans people in sport, it has to be done fairly but there has to be a place for us. Especially in football," the 51-year-old declared.
"Football is for everyone. It's the biggest sport in the world. Everyone loves football. And for me, football saved my life. If I didn't have football, I wouldn't be here today. Football allowed me to forget what was going on in my head when I was in my teenage years and when I was down."
Featured Image Credit: Guinness World Records