Gay rugby world cup to be held in Tennessee

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The next Bingham Cup – known as the gay rugby world cup – will be held in Tennessee.

The cup – named after rugby star Mark Bingham, who died onboard a plane during the 9/11 attacks – is an inclusive gay rugby tournament, often known as the gay rugby world cup, held every two years.

This year’s event was held in Sydney, Australia – and won by home team the Sydney Convicts.

However, the event is heading somewhere not many people would have expected in 2016 – Nashville, Tennessee.

The International Gay Rugby association announced last week that the Cup would be hosted in the southern state, which is not known for its progressive attitude to gay rights.

Tennessee does not currently recognise same-sex relationships in any way, bans gender recognition for transgender people, has no state-wide discrimination protection, and only limited hate crime laws.

The Nashville Grizzlies beat out the Chicago Dragons for the right to host the competition.

IGR chairman Jeff Wilson said: “On behalf of the IGR board and trustees, I would like to thank both clubs for their dedication and level of professionalism demonstrated in the bids and during the bidding process.

“Following in the footsteps of Bingham Cup 2014 in Sydney, both bidding organizations realized that the bar had been set even higher for the next tournament.

“Both Chicago and Nashville responded with comprehensive plans that not only provided for excellent rugby, but an opportunity to raise the visibility of our sport and our mission to another level.

“We look forward to joining with all of our rugby brethren in a city synonymous with hospitality in May 2016.”

24 teams from 15 countries around the world competed in this year’s tournament, with thousands of spectators, including US Ambassador John Berry.