Love of the game: Trans NH Rebellion player is in her element on women’s tackle football team

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Missy Mahoney. File Photo/Winter Trabex

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MANCHESTER, NH – Missy Mahoney has been playing women’s football for two years. Prior to joining the NH Rebellion, Mahoney was an ardent flag football player. A regular at every practice, Mahoney most often plays linebacker, though sometimes lines up at tight end. She will turn 38 on April 17.

Mahoney was born as an intersex individual. Until the age of 25, she believed she was simply a cross-dresser until a conversation with her best friend convinced her that she was, in fact, transgender. She began her transition journey after this conversation, and received gender-affirming care in Philadelphia at the age of 30.

“It’s been very good,” Mahoney said. “I’m very lucky.”

Although her father wasn’t initially happy with the situation, when he heard about Mahoney’s surgery, he said that since he was there at her birth he would be there at her rebirth.

With her transition several years behind her, Mahoney has been playing women’s sports for a number of years. However, despite what is often said to the contrary, Mahoney does not do so to gain a competitive edge over anyone else. She is among the first to acknowledge that she is not the best player on the team, let alone her division. She plays women’s football because she is a woman.

“I always wanted to play tackle football,” Mahoney said. “I was growing up, and I played Pop Warner for three days, and I gave up. I didn’t want to give up this time. I have a chance to do it again, and I wanted to do it. I love the game.”

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“I always wanted to play tackle football,” Mahoney said. “I was growing up, and I played Pop Warner for three days, and I gave up. I didn’t want to give up this time. I have a chance to do it again, and I wanted to do it. I love the game.” Photo/Erin Williams Photography

During practice, she is often seen running routes and catching balls from the team’s quarterback, Kim Bourque. At a recent practice in Hampton, she suffered a minor hamstring injury, which immediately brought players around asking how she was. She enjoys the unconditional support of her teammates, whom she thinks of as family.

She invited that family to her wedding this June. Her partner, a man who goes by the name Haze, will be Mahoney’s second spouse after her first, a wife, passed away.

Mahoney is currently studying at the University of Southern New Hampshire with a Sports Management major. She hopes to become a coach of a team somewhere, perhaps even a coach of the NH Rebellion. Despite having a full schedule which includes long commutes to team events, Mahoney is dogged, uncomplaining, always positive and upbeat.

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Missy Mahoney (walking on the sidelines, No. 52 on the right) loves playing with her NH Rebellion “family.” File Photo/Winter Trabex

Her interest in doing an interview sprang from a national controversy, largely driven by anti-trans activists, that transgender women should not play women’s sports. One of her biggest fears, she confesses, is that someone will come forward and say she’s not allowed to play for the Rebellion.

Unless the Women’s Football Association (WFA) changes its rules, Mahoney is likely to stay on the team. Section 12 of the league’s bylaws  stipulate that a player is eligible based on endocrinological evaluation dependent on testosterone level suppressed by medication and/or surgery for a period of up to 12 months.

“I personally don’t think there’s an advantage of a trans woman being on a tackle football team,” Mahoney said. When speaking about the proposed bans on trans women in sports, she stated, “I’m not happy about it. It’s not fair for us. We should have a place to play. We are women. We should be playing with women, not with men.”


 

About this Author

Winter Trabex

Winter Trabex is a freelance writer from Manchester and regular contributor to Community Voices.