Trans player Noa-Lynn van Leuven says darts has given her something to live for following her transition.
The 27-year-old joined the Women’s Series in 2022 after transitioning the year before and she created history by becoming the first trans woman to play in a televised darts tournament in July when she played in the Women’s Masters in Blackpool.
The Dutchwoman believes she would no longer be alive if she had not transitioned but is now able to live out her dream.
“I think if I didn’t have the transition, I wouldn’t be here anymore,” she told the PA news agency. “The last two years before I transitioned were terrible for me, I was depressed, I wasn’t having fun in life.
“I didn’t have anything to live for, I wasn’t in a good space. Then I realised I am trans, I should do something with that or I am not going to make anything out of my life.
“I went to the doctor and then went into the programme.
“Since the transition it has been three or four years until I started playing darts again. I was playing darts for nine years and I was missing something in life and then I started playing darts again, I missed the game, I missed the people within darts.
“Now I am happy again and I have so much to live for. I really love darts, I love playing it, I love meeting new people and travelling and that is all possible because of darts.”
Her journey has not been entirely smooth, though, as she revealed she receives animosity from other players, who she believes want her banned.
“It’s been coming from some players, male players, female players but I think a lot of them are getting educated so that makes it easier for me,” Van Leuven, who has passed stringent transitioning tests, added.
“Most of the time it is behind my back, I have heard from a few friends that players have gone up to them and said we need to get her banned, this isn’t OK.
Van Leuven was speaking to mark this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign, with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) supporting the movement by adopting the colours of the trans flag for the PDC logo on-stage at last weekend’s Players Championship.
She added: “A lot of the players are getting educated so that makes it easier for me. The PDC are really helping in educating people.”