Health & Wellbeing - Social Groups
Van Diemen Fencing Club launched in 2011 on a mission to make the Olympic sport of fencing accessible to everybody in Southern Tasmania. Our members include both social and competitive fencers and individuals aged from seven to eighty-seven years of age. Our Head Coach, Avery Holderness-Roddam, identifies as a queer, transgender male and is passionate about providing a safe space for anyone to come and learn to fence. We teach all three types of fencing swords at the club and we welcome beginners through to elite athletes. All the equipment is provided and we keep it safe and clean. When you join Van Diemen Fencing Club, you join a friendly, inclusive community of fencers. We run club sessions twice a week; once in Glenorchy and once in Huntingfield. We also run fencing tasters for schools and community groups, fencing sessions for birthdays, tournaments, individual lessons, interstate trips, camps and social events.
Our inaugural LGBTIQ+ Learn to Fence course will begin on July 31st, 2021, from 4 pm until 5:30 pm. The course will be held in the Tarremah Steiner School hall in Huntingfield. If we have enough interest, we are very keen to continue to run courses specifically for the LGBTIQ+ community. Van Diemen Fencing Club plans to run the first national tournament for LGBTIQ+ fencers in 2022. Previously we have run fencing for participants at Trans Camp 2016 (at no cost) in Southern Tasmania. We have also sponsored two transgender fencers to compete interstate.
"The Van Diemen Fencing Club community was one of my most important support networks when I came out as a transgender male in 2015, and the whole club was on top of my new pronouns from day one. Since then, we have had several trans and gender diverse individuals at the club; one of these members felt safe to come out at the club because they saw how respectful members were when I transitioned, and another individual was visiting from overseas (pre-pandemic) and told me that they felt surprised and so happy when I asked them what their pronouns were, introduced them with those pronouns, and then the other fencers consistently used the correct pronouns without batting an eyelid." - Avery
"VDFC has proven to me time and time again that all people, no matter their sexuality/gender/etc, are welcome, and having access to such a supportive club has made me feel a lot more comfortable with who I am." - Tash