First-ever openly trans football referee honoured by Guinness World Records

Lucy Clark with wife, Avril

The Guinness World Records has recognised England football’s first-ever openly trans football referee as the first in the world.

On Monday (3 July), the global authority on record breaking announced Lucy Clark as the only openly trans football referee in the world.

Clark told PinkNews: “I am humbled and honoured that Guinness World Records have recognised me for this.

“When I got the email I had to read it three times and was totally shocked.”

In a video celebrating her achievement, Clark said she owed her life to football, stating that when she was young she had contemplated taking her own life. 

“Football’s like my church: some people would see a church and marvel at a church. I can see a stadium, and marvel at it.

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“If I didn’t have football I wouldn’t be here today. Football saved my life.”

In 2017, Clark suffered a series of heart attacks during which time she was convinced that the Football Association wouldn’t accept her being trans.

Clark says she was ready to give up on football but her passion for the sport saw her persevere: “Football has always been a massive part of my life, and so I decided to see if the football world would accept me.”

More recently, in 2022, Clark revealed that she had again contemplated quitting the sport as she was hardly getting any matches to officiate. 

The 51-year-old, who is married to her wife Avril, came out to the Football Association in 2018, and despite her fears of being outcast, says the association did its best to support her.

That same year she came out publicly as a transgender woman – becoming the very first openly transgender referee in history.

‘I can take a few bullets for the community’

“I felt like a fraud, in a funny sort of way, because I was portraying this life that wasn’t mine. And when I came out, I had an immense sense of relief,” Clark said.

“I am a transgender woman and a referee, so I have the toughest skin you could ever imagine.

“I’m tough-skinned. I can take a few bullets for the community.”

Clark previously told PinkNews that former boxing manger, Kellie Maloney, inspired her to go public. 

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

TRUK United FC
Clark and her wife created the UK’s first trans football teams TRUK United FC. (Guinness World Records)

Clark and her wife formed the UK’s first trans football teams – TRUK United FC – and together run a radio station called Trans Radio UK, which Clark set up six months before coming out as trans. 

“We enjoy being radio presenters, but we also needed a radio station for people not only to listen but to discuss issues.”

The trailblazer for trans rights has also 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.

Guinness World Records editor-in-chief, Craig Glenday, said: “It was fascinating – and at times heartbreaking – to hear Lucy recounting her experiences first-hand. 

“Ultimately, her story is one of hard work, determination and paradigm-shifting success, so absolutely something that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated. 

“It’s essential that Guinness World Records recognises achievements from the widest possible spectrum of applicants, and by opening categories up specifically for the transgender community, GWR is sending out a clear message that everyone is welcome here.”

Clark, who continues to advocate for the trans community, has also been shortlisted for the 2023 Positive Role Model Award for LGBT at the National Diversity Awards. 

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