ENGLAND’S first ever transgender referee Lucy Clark has revealed her decision to continue working in football was driven by a series of life threatening heart attacks.
The 47-year-old revealed last year how she was being supported by the FA as she decided to live as her true self.
English football’s first ever transgender referee Lucy Clark told The Sun a series of heart attacks made her decide to continue her career in the game[/caption]
Lucy, who was born a man called Nick, spoke exclusively to The Sun about how the devastating health scare made her re-evaluate her idea of quitting the game.
She explained: “I had an overactive thyroid and they found some lumps on it. They gave me some radiotherapy and told me to stop taking the medication I had been.
“But then I had a series of heart attacks. This happened during the Christmas before I came out.
“It turned out I had a blocked artery so I had some routine operations and it was sorted. But this happened in what would have been my last season. I was thinking of quitting being a referee so I could live in my true gender.
Lucy, here overseeing a women’s game, almost quit her career because she wanted to live in her true gender[/caption]
“But I felt cheated. I had lost two months of football that I would have been doing if I had of been ill.
“So that for me was the turning point, I felt cheated.
“So many trans people give up something they love because they are transgender. And I didn’t want to do it.
“I hope my decision to go ahead and do it last year has encouraged others to be true to themselves.”
But the health scare made Lucy, here with her wife Avril, re-think her decision[/caption]
Lucy has been supported by her wife Avril, throughout the process and will be having full gender reassignment surgery in the near future.
She said: “It’s all going as planned. They make you jump through hoops, which I think is right.
“It’s jumping through hoops up until the final stage. The doctors need to be sure you’re making the right decision. But it’s all going the right way at the moment.”
When Lucy told her story last year, she continued as a referee for women’s football and decided to take a break from the male league.
However, Lucy has now returned to men’s football and is overseeing their games as well as regular women’s matches.
Lucy said: “I am refereeing Women’s Championship games this season and as far as the men’s football goes, I am picking and choosing the games.
“It is senior men’s football that I am doing. I have been with that league for a while. I know the clubs and know some of the supporters so I’m happy with the status quo.
With the support of her friends, family and the FA, Lucy has since returned to men’s football[/caption]
“I don’t want to progress on the men’s side and they are cool with it.
“I am working on progressing through the women’s pathway. Women’s football is flourishing and it’s amazing to be a part of that.
“The clubs have been really supportive and they have made an effort in getting my name right. They have known me for years as another name and mistakes have been made. Players have been great, they have treated me no differently.”
During last year’s season, Lucy encountered two incidents of abuse but said it was the supporters, not the clubs or players, who turned on her.
She also appears alongside Dapper Laughs, pictured left, in new documentary-film Fanatical[/caption]
Speaking to The Sun ahead of her first on-screen role in new documentary film, Fanatical, Lucy said: “When it comes to being a ref, nothing has changed.
“You get abuse because you’re a referee. I did ninety games last year and there were just two incidents – both times it was supporters
“In one game, there were only three or four supporters and they started singing: ‘Are you a man or a woman?’ If they had read the programme, they would have found out for themselves.
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“At another one, someone took a photo of me and put it online with the caption: ‘This is our referee today. Her name is Lucy…’ Someone shot them down and they deleted their tweet.
“The whole football community has been supportive of me. Really, football is for all.
“The FA struggled at first because they’ve never had this before but we learnt together. Now they have some transgender players at grassroots level and hopefully, in thirty years, it won’t even be a thing.”
Fanatical is available in cinemas from September 6. The Premiere will be held at The Troxy, London, tonight. For tickets go to: https://troxy.co.uk/event/fanatical/.