Longtime official Kingston Stockade Football Club supporter’s group the Dutch Guard is partnering with Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley for their 2022 Prideraiser campaign.
For many fans of Stockade FC, the men’s semi-professional soccer club that competes in the National Premier Soccer League, celebrating with the Dutch Guard is a key part of the game day experience both at Dietz Stadium in uptown Kingston, and on the road. Founded informally shortly after the formation of Stockade FC in late 2015, the Dutch Guard quickly became a fixture at matches, particularly at away games where they fully represented the orange and black with more vigor and volume than the home side’s crowd.
A key part of the Dutch Guard’s mission statement addresses their efforts both in the stadium and in the community: The beautiful game is for everyone.
“We aim to cultivate a diverse, inclusive, passionate, and fun soccer community at Dietz Stadium and throughout the Hudson Valley.”
Bradley Delmar is the treasurer of the Dutch Guard and has helped spearhead the supporter’s group’s Prideraiser initiatives since their inception back in 2019.
“During that, we raised just over $1000 for a local LGBTQ organization,” Delmar said. “We lost a year due to the pandemic but followed it up in the 2021 season doubling what we had raised in 2019 with over $2000.”
This year, the Dutch Guard is working with Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley, a new organization which, in addition to monthly in-person drop-in hours at the Dutchess County Pride Center in Hopewell Junction, also participates in a wide range of clothing swaps and outdoor events across the region.
“The Trans Closet was founded to combat clothing and economic insecurity in the Hudson Valley’s transgender community,” reads their mission statement. “To help reduce people’s dysphoria and support their self-expression; to facilitate the sharing of social, emotional, and creative support within the LGBTQ+ community; to redistribute a wide variety of resources to the community; and to develop a platform to signal boost community bulletins and the work of other justice organizations.”
Delmar said the Dutch Guard hopes this year’s Prideraiser isn’t a one-off, but rather a lasting relationship. “Our goal is actually to make long-term partnerships and we’re hoping we can continue with Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley for many seasons to come,” he said.
After parting ways with their previous partner due to organizational issues at the end of last season, Delmar said the Dutch Guard began looking for someone else to work with in 2022.
“We began a process during the offseason to find a new group,” he said. “We reached out to the Dutchess Pride Center and other LGBTQ community members asking for recommendations for local organizations. We narrowed it down to a few choices and had a more in-depth discussion on each. Ultimately we chose Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley knowing that they’re a very new organization and we know our impact can go a lot further with them, and their values aligned well with what we’d like to see in our community.”
Globally, soccer has been marred by bigotry and prejudice in the stands, but it’s also seen grassroots initiatives to strive for inclusion. The Dutch Guard is part of that movement.
“It’s important that at all levels we make it clear that LGBTQ+ people are welcome in our stands and on the field,” Delmar said. “This is a space that has a long legacy of homophobia but through efforts of countless supporters around the world, we continue to chip away at that reputation. It’s especially important for smaller teams since we have a bigger, more direct connection to our communities. Our own group has members of LGBTQ community so it’s personal for us.”
The Prideraiser is part of a coalition of independent soccer supporters that raise money for local LGBTQ+ organizations each June.
“Much like in previous years, each person pledges a dollar amount for each goal scored by Stockade FC,” said Delmar. “At the end of the month, Prideraiser sends you an email with the amount to donate and you make your donation directly to Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley. This year we will be including the four first team games as well as any u23 games that may fall in the month of June.”
For more information on the Dutch Guard/Trans Closet of the Hudson Valley Prideraiser, see https://www.prideraiser.org/campaigns/dutch-guard-sg-hudson-valley-prideraiser-jRaJmYQ8QEYZe/