New Zealand's only gay and inclusive rugby team has opened up on some of the prejudice its players face - including an opposition player who refused to shake their hands post-match after finding out about their sexual orientation.

That refusal left spectator and Auckland University screen production student Nevin Govindasamy flabbergasted. Now, the 27-year-old has made a documentary focused on the New Zealand Falcons, which explores the barriers faced by gay rugby players.
Line-Out follows eight players from the Falcons and their coaches over the course of their 2017 season.

Govindasamy said although the players he interviewed felt other teams were generally respectful, homophobic comments did get thrown around.

"Why is it acceptable to have homophobic comments as part and parcel of the game? It's not, and it shouldn't be," said Govindasamy.

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As a sport-mad gay man Govindasamy loves watching rugby.
But fear of negative or homophobic comments means he avoids even holding hands with his partner on the sideline.

"Having to hide any part of my personality I think is so compromising. I would love to be myself wherever I am."

Cameron Stewart, who features in the documentary, joined the Ponsonby-based Falcons this year. It was his first season playing.

"I knew it would be a safe environment and that I could walk in there and be myself and not have to worry about protecting myself or protecting others too," he said.
The 26-year-old said the season was "really fun".

Stewart said he faced homophobic remarks when he played rugby during PE lessons at school. "It would be like, 'Oh no don't let Cam play because he'll touch you', or, 'Don't let him in the scrums because he's gay'."

Auckland Rugby chairman Mike Donovan said the Falcons, formed in 2013, were helping challenge stereotypes through their "sheer existence".
"[Rugby] has had to move with the times and it's great that it has."

Donovan said he was disappointed to hear about the handshaking incident.
Line-Out is set to be released next year.

Govindasamy hopes to have a free screening ahead of the Auckland Pride Festival in February.
"I think it's important that the documentary is seen. It's dealing with some pretty important issues."