JK Rowling leads criticism after transgender woman managing women’s soccer club is celebrated

May 12, 2024
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Sutton United, a women’s football club in England that plays in the London and South East Women’s Regional Football League, made history earlier this year when it named Lucy Clark as manager. Clark is the first transgender manager in women’s soccer history.

Clark was initially the first transgender woman to be a referee. Clark was a referee in the third tier of women’s soccer in England. Clark, at the time, called the appointment to manager of Sutton United “kind of a dream come true,” according to BBC.

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Lucy Clark points

Sutton United manager Lucy Clark points during the LSE Regional Premier match at St Paul’s Sports Ground, London, Feb. 11, 2024. (Rhianna Chadwick/PA Images via Getty Images)

On Saturday, Pride UK – an LGBTQIA+ advocacy group – expressed support for Clark as the manager of Sutton United, touting Clark’s rise from being a referee to now leading a soccer club. The post garnered a ton of reaction.

“When I was young all the football managers were straight, white, middle-aged blokes, so it’s fantastic to see how much things have changed,” “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling wrote on X.

Australian lawyer Katherine Deves Morgan wrote, “Middle-aged bloke celebrated for cross-dressing on the soccer field. What an easy way to make yourself the centre of attention.”

British politician Jayda Fransen added that Clark’s appointment was “offensive to both men and women.”

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JK Rowling at a Six Nations match

J. K. Rowling arrives for the Guinness Six Nations match at the Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Feb. 24, 2024. (Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)

“Men up & down the country manage football teams, many are volunteers but they aren’t celebrated because they don’t wear wigs,” Fransen wrote. “Since this is another man in a predominantly male role, it’s NOT an unusual achievement, just a man mocking women.”

Clark responded to the remarks on X.

“Another day of hate fuelled transphobia against me… but hey guess what I am living my best life,” Clark wrote. “Wake up everyday with my beautiful family around me. Everyday I laugh and have things to look forward too. Who’s winning at life… the one who’s happy and smiling or those hating?

“So JK, Posie, Glinner and the rest of you out there hating on my community and myself guess what IDGAF… you keep hating and I will keep on smiling and living my best life. Maybe you should all give it a try eh.”

Lucy Clark during a match

Sutton United Women’s manager Lucy Clark during the LSE Regional Premier match at St Paul’s Sports Ground, Feb. 11, 2024. (Rhianna Chadwick/PA Images via Getty Images)

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The London and South East Women’s Regional Football League is in the fifth tier of women’s soccer. Sutton United is eighth in the standings.

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