Football ‘saved the life’ of UK’s first trans referee. Now she’s thinking of hanging up her whistle

Trans football referee Lucy Clark smiles as she officiates a match

England football’s first trans referee has said she’s considered quitting the sport.

Lucy Clark has been involved in football for most of her life, but revealed she is hardly getting any matches to officiate this season. 

This reality has made her consider giving up refereeing at her tier three level. 

According to the referee, this time last year she had five games to officiate, but this year she has only had one.

The 51-year-old lives in Surrey and has been married to her wife Avril for 12 years, after 22 years together – they have three children and co-founded Trans Radio UK. 

She told PinkNews she feels “disappointment” at the lack of game time she has been given this year as she “needs football” in her life. 

Clark posted on Twitter to say: “Possibly a knee jerk reaction but I’m considering giving up refereeing at the level I have been doing. 

“I have had only one match all season and nothing in the diary. I see other officials have three to four games. Maybe it’s time to hang up the whistle and concentrate on golf.” 

“Basically the FA just has a lot of referees and there’s not enough games for the referees now at the level I ref,” she shared. 

But the 51-year-old hopes she won’t need to give up the game.

“Football has always been a massive part of my life and has always been massive for my mental health,” she told PinkNews. 

The trailblazer for trans rights launched TRUK Listens – a trans helpline that now offers free advice to callers thanks to a team of around 10 counsellors – after receiving calls for support on Trans Radio.

She then founded TRUK United FC, which made history by becoming the first football team in the world consisting solely of trans women. 

“I’ve always had more than my fair share of games, but I think I’m a decent ref, so maybe it’s just me being selfish, but I just love football. 

“It’s a big thing for my mental health and it saved my life

“To be honest, without football I probably wouldn’t be here, so that’s how important it was throughout my life in my younger years.

“I give a lot to football and it gives me a lot back,” she told PinkNews. 

Truck United FC

TRUK United FC after winning 12-1. (Lucy Clark)

The 51-year-old said she doesn’t believe the lack of game time is the FA being “discriminative in any way shape or form, they just have a lot of officials they need to give games to”. 

“It’s just disappointing as I commit solely to women’s football game now,” she said. 

In a bid to stay in the game Clark is open to refereeing other levels, but admitted she would rather work towards officiating higher levels. 

But she shared her love of golf could also become her new hobby. 

Clark came out as trans on 19 August in 2018 and officiated her first football match as herself that same year. 

She told PinkNews: “At that time I didn’t think the football world would accept me. 

“But my wife pointed out it was such a big part of my life and I needed to continue it, but my plan was to give up refereeing as I didn’t think the industry would accept me.” 

Prior to Christmas that year Clark suffered multiple heart attacks which spurred her to continue referring as she asked “why should I give up something I love”. 

She said: “Trans people should be able to continue and just do what they love. 

“I’m glad I’m out there, and we need visibility within the community. The more people get to see and hear of trans people, the more, hopefully, they will come to accept trans people.” 

Clark said former boxing manger, Kellie Maloney, inspired her to go public. 

Maloney underwent gender confirmation surgery early in 2018, but began to transition in 2014.