Source: Samantha Lewis/Facebook

Trans Darts Player Excluded from Sport in the UK

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Samantha Lewis, an avid darts player from Hull, England, found herself barred from participating in a sporting event – and attacked online – because she is trans.

Lewis "had planned to compete in the female category at the England Darts Open in Devon in June," UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported, "but was excluded from playing."

Noted the Mail: "Unlike some other darts competitions, England Darts does not allow for transwomen to play in female events."

The organization's chairperson, Tommy Thompson, addressed the subject by claiming that "Non-birth gender females in women's events will ultimately result in the demise of our women's sport," the newspaper relayed.

"I've had a lot of slander and discrimination," Lewis, 28, told the BBC, adding that her mental health has suffered thanks to being excluded from the event, as well as being subjected to transphobic abuse.

"Mentally, my mum has been really worried about me because I've gone down that slippery slope again," Lewis confided. "I wanted to end it all."

"I know it's just a game," she went on to add, "but it's something that I love doing."

Samantha "started her gender transition at 14," the Mail recounted, and picked up on the love of the sport that has been in her family for at least three generations.

"Darts has been in my family my whole life," she told the BBC. "It started off with my grandma and granddad, and then my dad joined."

Lewis, too, is an avid player and has been playing darts competitively for six years, the Mail said, but she has had to contend with transphobic abuse from other players while trying to enjoy the sport.

Added to that, now, is the abuse she's had to face from trolls online. Even the way she was informed that she was being excluded was an insult.

"Ms Lewis was banned from participating in the England Darts Open in Devon, receiving the rejection message via Facebook – a move she said was 'very unprofessional,'" the BBC article detailed.

Even so, the BBC added, "Ms Lewis said that both Humberside County Darts and her team, Inglemire, had been supportive – something she described as 'very heart-warming.'"

"Darts is unique in that it hosts competitions, including the PDC World Championships, that allow open tournaments which male and female athletes can compete against each other on the world stage," the Mail explained.

But while some "darts competitions do allow transgender women to compete, depending on their testosterone levels," England Darts imposes a ban on transwomen in women's events, the BBC said.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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