Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity In Sport Essays From Activists Coaches And Scholars

Gay at the Games: How Canada is hosting Pride House, a safe space for LGBT athletes at the Olympics
There are 13 out and proud LGBT athletes at the Winter Olympics, out of more than 3,000 competitors. While that number may seem low, it's almost double the number who were out at Sochi — seven. "I promise, for every athlete that's out, there's at least one or two that aren't," said Mark Tewksbury, a Canadian swimmer who won Olympic gold in 1992, and later came out as gay.

Canada Olympic House will be a home to Pride House
COC is proud to announce that for the first time ever, Pride House will be directly affiliated and hosted by a National Olympic Committee. Canada Olympic House (COH) will be a home to Pride House during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. This represents a unique partnership between the COC and Pride House International (PHI) to celebrate, on a more meaningful scale than ever before, our shared values of inclusion, diversity, and respect.

CWHL's first transgender woman finds comfort, confidence in professional hockey
Jessica Platt learned to skate in a backyard ice rink her family built in a neighbor's yard. Today, she plays for the Toronto Furies, a Canadian Women's Hockey League team. "I'm hoping I can help other trans people and trans athletes know that they can achieve their dreams," Platt said. "Even if one person is inspired or helped, then I feel like I succeeded at something."

This Edmonton-based gym for LGBTQ people is the first of its kind in Canada
Kyle Fairall, who runs Queerflex, was nominated for a human rights award for their work with the gym

You Can Play awarded 2017 IOC Trophy for Sport Beyond Borders
Dec 2017 - The Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) Awards and Recognition Committee presented the 2017 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Trophy for Sport Beyond Borders to You Can Play.

Minor hockey coaches, trainers get mandatory training on being trans-inclusive
Dec 2017 - Ontario hockey coaches, trainers and managers have been instructed to take training programs in support of transgender players.

An open discussion about sport and homophobia (video)
September 29, 2017 - Scott Russell, host of Road to the Olympic Games, leads the conversation with author and Olympian Marnie McBean, vice-president of development & operations at You Can Play Jillian Svensson, and Paulo Senra, the CFL's director of communications.

Kristen Worley’s continuing battle for dignity in sports (Video)
July 18, 2017 - Testosterone alone is an insufficient marker to distinguish men from women says elite Canadian transgender cyclist

Cycling Canada, OCA, the UCI, and Canadian Athlete Kristen Worley Settle Human Rights Application to Promote Inclusive Sporting Environments
July 18, 2017 - “Today, I am satisfied that the sport of cycling in Canada and internationally have committed to help advocate for issues facing XY female athletes,” said Worley. “My vision encourages sport and the Olympic Movement to do what it is supposed to do best: harmonizing and celebrating through sport the magic and enormity of our human diversity.”

Historic support from Canadian sports teams, players for Pride
June 24, 2017 - An historic number of athletes, coaches, management and staff from Toronto sports teams and organizations will be attending this year's Pride Parade in Toronto. More than 120 people representing the NHL, CFL, Canada Basketball, Canadian Olympic Committee and You Can Play are joining forces to continue their march towards making sport a more inclusive space.

An open letter from Martina Navratilova to Margaret Court Arena
Sporting venues named for athletes, or any place, really, named for whoever, are so named for one reason. That reason is their whole body of work. In other words, it is not just for what this person did on the field, on the court, in politics, arts or science, for instance, but also for who they are as human beings.

CAAWS Leading the Way Webinar – LGBTQI2S Inclusion for Your Sport Organization
January 13, 2017
Thanks for joining the webinar! Missed it? Check out the replay!

Edmonton's LGBTQ rainbow hockey tape goes international
Dec. 2016 - Pride Tape 'a phenomenal made-in-Edmonton success story,' says co-creator of rainbow hockey tape. Splashes of rainbow-coloured hockey tape are raising awareness about LGBTQ athletes worldwide, after an Edmonton-based campaign crossed the ocean.

Sport North Introduces Team NWT You Can Play Video
Sport North is privileged to formally join the You Can Play movement, and is beyond grateful to the athletes, coaches, and officials who stepped up participate in our TEAM NWT You Can Play video – the first of its kind by a provincial or territorial sports organization in Canada!

Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQ Athletes and Coaches – A Focus on Trans Inclusion: Webinar
October 24, 2016, Jennifer Birch-Jones
Download the webinar presentation (.pdf, 7.15 MB)
Listen to the webinar:

Just Being Himself, in a Professional Women’s Hockey League
Oct 20, 2016 - He changed his voice mail recording and created a new email address. He updated his LinkedIn profile, too, to reflect his new name. With those details settled, and the National Women’s Hockey League season about to begin, Harrison Browne, who was born Hailey Browne and identifies as a man, was ready to debut as the first openly transgender athlete in professional team sports in North America.

At least 9 out LGBT athletes competing at the Paralympics in Rio
After a Summer Olympic Games that saw a record-smashing number of publicly out lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes, the Paralympics are set to follow suit in Rio. We know of at least nine publicly out Paralympians who will be competing for gold in Rio, the most we have known of in a single Paralympics.

Homophobia becomes a crime in Italian sport
Italian sports authorities have taken a clear position in support of LGBT rights. In an historic decision, Italy’s National Olympic Committee unanimously approved an amendment to its statute, which introduces the crime of homophobia.

CCES Releases Guide to Creating Inclusive Environments for Trans Participants in Canadian Sport
“I commend the work that the Trans Inclusion in Sport Expert Working Group has done to develop guiding policy and practices for sport organizations to better include trans participants in the Canadian sport system,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

NBA: No All-Star Game for North Carolina If Anti-LGBT Law Isn't Changed
After having said last week that no decision had been made on pulling next year’s NBA All-Star Game from North Carolina, the league’s commissioner now says the game definitely will be moved if the state’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law isn’t changed.
“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” said commissioner Adam Silver

How Major Codes are Tackling Homophobia in Sport
Australia, April 27, 2016 - In 2014 Cricket Australia lead the way in taking steps to eradicate homophobia from their code by signing the ‘Anti-Homophobia in Sport Framework,’ and in 2015 also released their ‘A Sport for All’ diversity and inclusion resource for Australian cricket clubs. It’s not just Cricket Australia. All the major Australian sporting codes have now signed onto the world first ‘Pride in Sport’ index.

Olympians and Paralympians bring inclusive message to historic Mardi Gras
The 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday will be the first time a float full of Olympians, Paralympians and their supporters has been entered in the annual event to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of discrimination.

Is sport waking up to homophobia?
Out On The Fields is the first international study on homophobia in sport, compiling responses from almost 9,500 people, including around 25% from heterosexual men and women. The study found that 80% of people had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport

Adidas Encourages Star Athletes to Come Out
Feb 15, 2016 - The world's second largest sportswear company is shaking up the sports industry by being the first company to guarantee they will not terminate any endorsement deals if the athlete comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Problems in sport run deeper than homophobia
A University of Auckland researcher is taking a closer look at the experiences LGBTI people have when it comes to women’s sport in the hope to better understand the rigid ideas the sporting world maintains in regards to masculinity and femininity.

Rainbow coloured hockey tape symbol of LGBTQ support
A new initiative aims to promote inclusion in sports through the colour of hockey tape. Pride Tape is the brainchild of the University of Alberta’s Sexual Minority Studies and Services.

The Canadian Women's Hockey League and You Can Play Team Up
On Saturday January 2nd, 2016 the Canadian Women’s Hockey League will be hosting two games in partnership with You Can Play to support and promote equality for all athletes, coaches, staff and fans without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Download promotional info (pdf, 152KB)

Australian campaign against homophobia in sport wins UN Award for its global influence
The United Nations has recognised the Australia-wide campaign to end homophobia in sports with a special award. The United Nations Golden World award (for Public Relations and Public Education with an objective of social progress) recognises the impact the Australian campaign has had on “international social progress”.

PrideHouse Toronto: Ensuring a place for all in sport
PrideHouse Toronto has achieved a number of firsts. For the first time in Pan Am history, an openly gay runner participated in the torch relay, arising from the close partnership of PrideHouseTO with the TORONTO 2015 Organizing Committee. It’s the first to ever receive government funding, which in this case came from the government of Ontario and City of Toronto. And PrideHouse TO lead partner CIBC is the first major corporate sponsor in the history of the Pride House movement.

LGBT issues in sports 101
The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, will offer a course next year called “Sports and Sexual Diversity” in its undergraduate program.

PrideHouse Toronto to continue drive for LGBTQ inclusion during Parapan American Games
More than 31,000 people visited PrideHouse Toronto from a variety of countries from across the region, in addition to Pride House representatives from Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020. They are now hoping to have similar success during the Parapan American Games and are keeping PrideHouse Pavilion open throughout the duration of the event, which opens today and is due to last until August 15.

Much work needed to ensure LGBT athletes can be themselves
From July 10 to 26, 2015, over 8,000 athletes descended upon Toronto for the Pan Am Games. Daily Xtra could only find a small number of them that openly identify as LGBT. It’s not for lack of trying to create a comfortable environment. The 519, Toronto’s LGBT community centre, morphed into PrideHouseTO, an LGBT inclusive space for athletes, fans and community members.

PrideHouseTO shows LGBTQ inclusiveness of Pan Am Games
Initiative a success during Pan Am Games, and will continue during Parapan Am Games

WTA slam Stakhovsky for anti-lesbian comments
The WTA has hit back at Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky following his stunning comments about gay players on the women's tour.

Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games: the Change Room Project
“The first time I encountered a homophobic slur, it was written on the wall in a locker room in my elementary school.” – Elise, lesbian, graduate student. Walking into a gym locker room can evoke a spectrum of emotions. For many users, it’s a get-in-and-get-out-fast type of experience. But few people talk about why they feel the way they do about these spaces.

Megan Rapinoe - 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Feature (Video)
Find out more of what Megan Rapinoe had to say about her life away from the pitch.

N.W.T. first Canadian province or territory to join You Can Play project
'It's about respect for athletes, and coaches and fans': Sport North's Spider Jones

Canadian Olympic Committee launches campaign to promote LGBTQ inclusion
In the moments before Anastasia Bucsis stepped on the ice to race, when her sole focus should have been on what she had to do to win, the speedskater would be consumed by worries that went way beyond sport. What if her competitors knew she was gay? “Which is ridiculous because it shouldn’t matter,” Bucsis said...

Canadian Olympic Committee Launches #OneTeam LGBTQ PSA to Strengthen Message of Inclusion in Sport
#OneTeam Ambassadors stand up for inclusion in sport
TORONTO — On Tuesday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) launched its first ever #OneTeam LGBTQ inclusion in sport Public Service Announcement (PSA), documenting the challenges that featured athletes faced growing up and competing in sport while being closeted.

Keeper Erin McLeod comes out, leads team and fans as Canadian role model
The 32-year-old goalkeeper is about to play in her third Women’s World Cup. It has been only in recent years, though, that she has truly taken the leap to be exactly who she is – an athlete, an artist, an activist and someone who will speak publicly about being gay

Olympian to share her story of overcoming isolation with Kitchener students
"There are people desperately waiting to hear someone talk about this," she said. "There are people who absolutely need to hear this information and know there is someone else who is the same or who they can relate to or look up to.

Letter sent to IOC calling for pressure on Kazakhstan to drop proposed anti-gay rights bill
Human rights issues have been brought to the fore once again in the contest for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics after a group of athletes wrote to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requesting pressure to be put on Kazakhstan to drop proposed anti-gay rights legislation.

Homophobia in sports still pervasive in Canada, new study shows
New data shows that homophobia is still alive and well in Canadian sports and the study, which is the first of its kind, suggests anti-gay attitudes are deterring young people from being active in some athletic fields.

Scottish Sports bodies urged to show homophobia a red card
SPORTS clubs and governing bodies will be urged this week to back a new charter to tackle homophobic bullying in Scotland. The declaration is also aimed at increasing gay and transgender people’s participation in sport.

Hockey player Kendra Fisher comes out: 'Stereotypes of women's sports are keeping lesbians in the closet'
Kendra Fisher, a former elite ice hockey goalie for Canada and current inline hockey player, opened up about her sexual orientation in a public forum for the first time at the Canadian Olympic Committee's #OneTeam round table last week, saying with a pause and conviction: "I am a gay athlete."

Gay Olympians honoured at 2015 Bonham Centre Awards Gala
Pioneering out Olympians are being honoured April 23 for their contributions to LGBT inclusion in sports. Mark Tewksbury, Greg Louganis and Marnie McBean will be recognized as people who have made a difference in the world of sports.
See also: IOC Video "If Not You Then Who?" Mark Tewksbury on his work in Cdn sport on LGBT inclusion from the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Canadian Olympic Committee tackling LGBT issues this week
Continuing on the quest it started six months ago with its #OneTeam initiative, the Canadian Olympic Committee will host an international roundtable on LGBT inclusion in sport this Thursday. The roundtable features various panels and conversations focused on identifying challenges to change in sport and solutions to advancing that change on LGBT issues.

Olympics-IOC receives rights assurances for Winter Games bids
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received non-discrimination assurances from Beijing and Almaty's bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, an official said on Saturday after Beijing police raided an anti-discrimination group this week. The IOC said last year it would include human rights clauses in new contracts to be signed by future Olympic host cities, strengthening its anti-discrimination policy.

Coaches Corner Delivers LGBTQ Resources and Community for Women's Sports Professionals
March 10, 2015 - Br{ache the Silence Co-founders, Nevin Caple and Colleen McCaffrey teamed up with the NCAA, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Women’s Sports Foundation, Equality Coaches Alliance, SHAPE America and fellow sports advocates, including Pat Griffin, Karen Morrison, Sue Rankin, Sherri Murrell, Kirk Walker and Charley Sullivan to create Coaches Corner, an online networking platform and comprehensive resource for LGBTQ inclusion in women and girl sports.

You Can Play celebrates third anniversary with two new hires, grant
The You Can Play project celebrates its third anniversary today, the organization inspires schools, teams and athletes to create videos aimed at welcoming LGBT people into sports. They celebrate their anniversary with the announcement of two hirings - including GO! Athletes founder Anna Aagenes - and the landing of a grant. Congratulations all the way around!

Gay hockey player went back in the closet to become a coach
Nora Cothren was an out lesbian ice hockey player at Smith College. Yet after she graduated she went back in the closet to become a coach, even denying her engagement to be married. Now she's finding the strength to be her true self.

A more welcoming, more inclusive Pan Am Games
This time, they don't want anyone — repeat, anyone — to feel they're unwelcome. Not like last winter in Sochi, where the Olympic spirit — not to mention its charter — was tarred and feathered by the Russian Duma's hurried, horrid anti-gay legislation. PrideHouseToronto went swiftly into action then, and it's gone into action again as July's Pan Am Games approach. "We're committed to making sure there's a place in sport for all," says Hamilton resident John Jansen, co-chair of PrideHouseToronto's volunteer engagement logistics team.

The 12 ways Sochi 2014 changed gay rights, and the world, forever
The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 will go down in history as the event that made gay rights not just an issue to discuss, but the center of a civil rights firestorm. Even though it happened in February, the reverberations of the protests are still being felt as we reach the end of the year.

Out Proud Radio Interview with Jennifer Birch-Jones
December 5, 2014 - This was an informative discussion about Women in Sport and Homophobia in Sports with my guest Jennifer Birch Jones, life-long athlete and well known volunteer, national referee, sports professional and advocate for the advancement of women in sport.

2015 Pan Am Games embrace gay athletes and fans
PrideHouse Toronto's plans include a pavilion with 'a safe space for people to watch the Games as well as celebrate athletes and inclusion in sports.' When Toronto hosts the Pan American Games next summer, Burley said it will mark the first time the organizing committee has worked in partnership with the local gay community.

A tale of liberation in a life filled with magical moments
Olympic gold medallist Marnie McBean shares the details of her life before speaking at a keynote talk at the Pan Am Games symposium Saturday in Toronto.

Prejudice against gays and lesbians hurts women’s college basketball
Cindy Russo, who has coached women’s basketball at Florida International University for 40 years, won more than 700 games and seen the sport make great strides, said homophobia remains as much a problem today as it was decades ago.

IOC’s sexual orientation clause ‘exactly what they promised,’ says Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson
Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson is praising a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee president to fight discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Olympic movement. “It’s unbelievable,” said Stevenson, who is gay, of the decision by IOC president Thomas Bach to recommend including “non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism.” “I’m absolutely thrilled. This is exactly what they promised me in a meeting I had in Sochi. It’s an amazing turnaround within one year.”

Toronto's LGBT Sport and Recreation Conference: 2015 and Beyond!
Saturday November 29, 2014 10am-5pm
, 519 Church Street Community Centre, Toronto
Keynote speaker Marnie McBean, four time rowing Olympic medalist (3 golds, 1 bronze in rowing) opens the conference as our keynote speaker.
2015 will be a big year for Toronto’s sport and recreation communities and the LGBT sport community is no exception. Through Outsport Toronto’s partnership with PrideHouseTO, the LGBT sport community of Toronto will be focused on ensuring that the Toronto 2015 PanAm/ParaPanAm Games are the most LGBT-inclusive games in history. Beyond the Games however, there are opportunities to leverage the experience of TORONTO2015 to build our capacity and our communities. SCRUM2014 provides an opportunity to celebrate and highlight what is to come over the next year while beginning to plan for what is to come for Toronto’s LGBT sport community beyond the Games. SCRUM2014 is a programme of OutSportToronto, presented in partnership with The 519 Church Street Community Centre with the financial assistance of the RBC Royal Bank of Canada.

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Talks About Becoming First Openly Gay Athlete Endorsed by Nike
“It was really important to partner with Nike as I believe in what they are doing,” Griner told TheWrap at the 5th annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit in Dana Point, Calif., explaining that she wouldn't work with a brand that didn't support LGBT athletes.

Time To Break Down Barriers When It Comes To Marketing For LGBT Athletes
October 11, 2014 - In one of the first conversations Brittney Griner ever had with Lindsay Colas, now her agent, the WNBA star talked about how being open about her sexuality might impact her ability to land sponsorship deals.
The bottom line, right from the beginning: She didn't care. And neither did Colas.

Prof joins panel discussion on homophobia in sport
The furor over Michael Sam’s coming out as a gay football player was another reminder that sports may have some distance to go, to be free of homophobia. On Friday, Aug. 29, Egale, the Canada Human Rights Trust, is sponsoring a special panel discussion which deals with this issue, entitled Tackling Homophobia in Sports.

Bingham Cup organisers report on anti-homophobia framework
Earlier this year the organisers of the Bingham Cup posted an ambitious challenge to Australia’s major sporting codes, aiming to end homophobia in sport by the commencement of the Bingham Cup in Sydney
Australian Rugby Union, National Rugby League, Australian Football League, Football Federation of Australia and Cricket Australia all agreed to sign on to a new anti homophobia framework in the hopes of eliminating homophobia in their codes ahead fo the Bingham Cup tournaments which begin in Sydney this week

Equality is a team sport
The past 18 months have truly been groundbreaking in the LGBT sports landscape. The likes of Jason Collins, Michael Sam, Derick Gordon, as well as Olympians Sally J Shipard, Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Caitlin Cahow and Belle Brockhoff have all come out so loudly and so proudly!

UK to give extra help so gays win gold at Olympics
July 23, 2014 - British gay athletes are to get extra help to overcome the problems they face and win gold at the Olympics and other top contests. It will start with top-level athletes meeting with LGBTI sports experts to find out if discrimination or keeping their sexuality secret is holding them back.

UCLA Women's Soccer breaks the silence about LGBT players
UCLA Women’s Soccer Program joined Br{ache the Silence Tour of Champions to offer their support for the LGBT community in Women’s Sports nationally. Br{ache the Silence Tour of Champions invites national champions in Women’s Soccer to create a video where student-athletes have an opportunity to discuss the importance of inclusion of LGBT athletes in sports.

We don't seek to wag the finger on LGBT rights, says Scottish Minister
Scotland does not seek to dictate to fellow Commonwealth Games countries when it comes to rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, claimed the Scottish Government's Minister for External Affairs and International Development, Humza Yousaf, here today.

Homophobia in sport: Australian study reveals abuse still widespread
Australian Channel Seven commentator Brian Taylor was widely condemned for calling an AFL player a “big poofter” during a recent broadcast. In May, the NRL match review committee said it would investigate a homophobic slur audible during Fox Sports’ broadcast of an under-20s State of Origin match.
But preliminary results from the first national study on homophobia in Australian sport reveal such incidents are a common experience in many sporting environments all the way down to the grassroots level.

Calgary speedskater stars in LGBT documentary filmed on the ‘down-low’ during Sochi Games
Anti-gay propaganda swirled ahead of February’s Sochi Games, but Anastasia Bucsis did her best to keep her focus on the ice. The Calgary speed skater did announce the previous September that she was gay and proud of it, but declined “99 per cent” of media interview requests.
Prior to the Games, Russia’s government passed laws barring public displays of affection among same-sex couples and Sochi’s own mayor said in an interview that homosexuality didn’t exist in his city, because “it’s not accepted here.” Still, Bucsis had worked for years to get to the Games and wanted to be remembered more for her race.

Canadian Olympians to march in 2014 World Pride Parade
Toronto’s annual Pride Week gets an international look this year with the 2014 World Pride Parade. Attending will be some of the country’s finest sport ambassadors: Canadian Olympians.
Among the athletes will be rower Marnie McBean, a three-time Olympic gold medallist. “We are a diverse country and we’re at our best when we choose to embrace each other’s identities, fostering a safe and open environment for our friends, teammates and neighbours to be themselves,” McBean said through the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Canadian Olympians and pro athletes to march with You Can Play in World Pride Parade
June 27, 2014 -About three dozen Canadian Olympians, pro athletes and representatives from Canadian pro sports teams will march in the World Pride Parade in Toronto this Sunday with the You Can Play project.

Members Of Congress Urge Olympic Committee To Add LGBT Protections
June 27, 2014 - Nineteen members of Congress on Tuesday asked the International Olympic Committee to amend its charter later this year to bar anti-LGBT discrimination.

The WNBA Televises Its Pride With LGBT Campaign
June 23, 2014- Sunday's nationally televised WNBA game between the Tulsa Shock and Chicago Sky was more than just two teams playing basketball. It was billed as the league's first national Pride Game, and it is part of a bigger initiative by the WNBA to embrace the LGBT community.

FIFA will probe anti-gay chants at World Cup
June 19, 2014 - FIFA has started disciplinary proceedings against four countries after alleged homophobic chants by their fans during their World Cup matches.

Welsh Charter to tackle homophobic discrimination in sport
A new charter promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in sport has been launched by Sports Minister John Griffiths. Schools, clubs and national governing bodies in Wales are being urged to sign up in a bid to tackle discrimination. The charter asserts a zero tolerance approach to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

I am Charline Labonte, Olympic hockey player and proudly gay.
Charline Labonte played in her fourth Winter Olympics for Canada in Sochi. Her girlfriend, speed skater Anastasia Buscis, was there with her. Labonte talks here for the first time about being gay.

WNBA to market to LGBT community
The WNBA is kicking off a campaign to market specifically to the LGBT community, a shift that makes it the first pro league to specifically recruit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered fans to its games.
With the campaign, the WNBA is capitalizing on what it has known for years: The community makes up a significant portion of its fan base. The difference now is that the league is talking about it publicly and making it a deliberate part of its marketing strategy.

A Review of Reappearing Act by Kate Fagan
The Reappearing Act is a gripping memoir written with honesty and wry humor about Kate Fagan's painful, but ultimately triumphant journey to truth and self-acceptance as a lesbian. As a college basketball player on a nationally-ranked team Kate Fagan's story exposes the influence of Evangelical Christian sport ministries on young athletes and the crushing fear of being publicly identified as lesbian that holds so many women coaches and athletes hostage.

The Times They Are A-Changin' for LGBTQ People in Sports
March 18, 2014 - The lyrics from Bob Dylan's classic 1960s social change anthem capture the generational shifts that are now underway in sports. As younger generations of LGBTQ and ally athletes and coaches express greater openness and desire for activism on LGBTQ issues, they are pushing back on the norms of silence, exclusion and secrecy long accepted by their elders.

Have Pride: dedicated LGBT centre to tackle homophobia at Glasgow Games
February 24, 2014 - The Glasgow Commonwealth Games will provide a "Pride House" throughout the event in a bid to tackle homophobia in sport.

University of Alberta partnering with You Can Play to educate and study homophobia, transphobia …
February 19, 2014 - The University of Alberta has teamed up with an advocacy organization to fight homophobia, transphobia and discrimination in sports.

Olympic Committee Defends Transgender Activist Vladimir Luxuria's Removal From Sochi Arena
February 18, 2014 - The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday defended the removal of an Italian gay rights activist from a Sochi arena, saying she was "escorted from there peacefully" and not detained.

Canada’s athletes push Russian anti-gay laws aside as they head to Sochi
The Canadian Olympic Committee trumpeted its support of athletes participating in Pride events across Canada last summer with press releases and photos. That message is decidedly toned down heading into the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi, Russia.

Obama Jabs Putin, Picks Openly Gay Delegates For Winter Olympics In Russia
President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his delegates to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. And, in what may be a thumb in the eye to Russian President Vladimir Putin over his crackdown on gay rights, two of Obama's delegates are openly gay.

Silence is not golden
In the past six months, the conversation about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi has ebbed and flowed as athletes, journalists and sports executives have expressed concern about Russia's anti-gay laws while also urging restraint amid the specter of protest at the Games. But we haven't yet harnessed the full power of the moment -- and the potential for change that comes with it -- because too many voices remain silent.

New Zealand to appoint special diplomat to help with problems over anti-gay law at Sochi 2014
New Zealand's Government is to appoint a diplomat dedicated to ensuring that its citizens are not targeted by Russia's controversial anti-gay laws during next year's Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi next year.

If You Can Play, You Can Play
You Can Play is a social activism campaign dedicated to the eradication of homophobia in sports, centered around the slogan, "If you can play, you can play." ...

America's newest member of the International Olympic Committee would vote to amend the Olympic charter to list sexual orientation as a form of discrimination.
U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst, voted onto the IOC last month, said such an amendment is one of the few avenues available to the USOC as it tries to send a message to Russia, which recently passed an anti-gay law, less than a year before it hosts the Winter Olympics.

Sexual orientation added to U.S. code
The U.S. Olympic Committee board revised its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation, a nod to its disapproval of the Russian anti-gay law recently passed by the Olympic host country.

Call to use Commonwealth Games to share LGBT progress
27 September 2013 - The Commonwealth Games could be used as a platform to inspire some participating countries to address their record of criminalising their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, the [Scottish] Sports Minister has said.

ALL IN embodies the message of inclusion through the personalization of the LGBTQ community in collegiate and professional sports. The PSA features prominent leaders in the women’s sports community, both LGBTQ and straight ally athletes and coaches, speaking in their own intimate words on challenges, personal experiences, and necessary steps for an inclusive environment in women’s sports.

Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis ‘so proud to be gay’
The Calgary athlete’s life is centred on training – six to eight hours a day, six days a week. Even when she announced to family and friends she was gay two years ago, the speed skater didn’t want her sexual orientation to become her whole identity.

Bianka Viel and Guylaine Demers discuss breaking down the “wall of silence” related to homophobia in sport in the latest Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching.
Read the story (.pdf)

LGBTQ athletes: coming out in the varsity locker room
For most people, a trip to Hawaii is synonymous with relaxation and the absence of confrontation. For Matthew Hawes, the journey had a sour send-off several years ago. While swimming for the Canadian national team, Hawes faced a challenge when the squad prepared to leave for training camp on the tropical island. His 10 teammates were invited to bring their significant others, but a coach discreetly told Hawes, who is openly gay, that bringing his boyfriend would be a problem.

MUN launches anti-homophobia sports campaign
Memorial University has launched a campaign to promote acceptance amongst all athletes, and to encourage people in the gay and transgender community to get involved in varsity sports. The university released a video on its website Wednesday as part of the You Can Play project, depicting MUN athletes in a show of solidarity for athletes of all sexual orientation and gender.

Gay groups call on Rogge to set up IOC Pride House as protest against new Russian laws
Calls have been launched for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help set-up a Pride House during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to help ensure the safety of homosexual athletes, officials and spectators attending the Games amid fears that they will be targeted due to Russia's new controversial gay hate law.

Baird blasts Russia's 'hateful' anti-gay law, after pushing privately for change
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird denounced Russia's controversial new anti-gay law as hateful Thursday, saying it could incite violence.

Should Olympians fear Russia's anti-gay laws?
A widening crackdown in Russia is raising questions about how best to keep athletes and fans who support gay rights safe at the Sochi Olympics this winter. The Kremlin passed a law in late June that makes it illegal to spread "propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations" to minors, under threat of steep fines. Many critics of the new law point to it as evidence that homophobia is on the rise in Russia.

Apartheid South Africa Banned by IOC for 28 Years; Jailing of LGBTs Goes Unpunished?
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) set a precedent on human rights in sport when it banned South Africa from participating in the Olympics in 1964, to protect the Games from racial discrimination. Why then is it refusing to take action now when the rights of LGBT people are under threat?

Anti-gay laws won’t apply at Winter Olympics: Russia
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received assurances from the “highest level” of the Russian Government that its controversial “homosexual propaganda” laws will not apply to athletes and others involved in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Star Observer received the statement today via the Australian Olympic Committee as an amendment to the IOC’s original statement issued last week.

Addressing Homophobia in Sport Coaching Resource Advisory Group
CAAWS is very exciting to be working on a new Addressing Homophobia in Sport Coaching Resource, with the help of our partners AthletesCAN and Coaches of Canada we have setup an Advisory Group comprised of very distinguished coaches and athletes representing individual and team sports and para-sports, summer and winter sports, both genders, both Official Languages, and of course, sexual diversity. Our resource for coaches is aimed to be educational and practical, providing coaches with the answers to their key questions as well as leading practices to help them create environments welcoming to sexual diversity for both women and men. The coaching resource will be available in the fall so in the mean time please check out our other addressing homophobia resources at

Rose Pitkin, Nike LGBT Sports Summit Followup
Please enjoy these brief yet important reflections from Rose Pitkin, a collegiate ambassador with GO! Athletes and attendee of the 2013 Nike LGBT Sports Summit! Rose is a rising senior at Swarthmore College where she is a member of the softball team!

Canadian Olympic Team to March in Toronto's Pride Parade for First Time
Toronto – Canadian Olympians will join hundreds of thousands of fans and spectators in celebrating Pride Week festivities in Toronto by participating in the 33rd annual Pride Parade.

CAAWS ED Attends the LGBT Nike Summit
June 20, 2013 - Last week Nike played host to the second LGBT Sports Summit, June 12-15, in Portland, Ore. The event brought together over 100 people aimed at ending anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. It was quite a few days. One of the accomplished tasks was for last year's attendees to formalize the LGBT Sports Coalition.

Scotland to tackle homophobia in sport
June 2013 - The Scottish government pledged its commitment to tackle homophobia in sports, after a recent report by the Equality Network charity the problem is widespread.

Gag Orders on Sexuality
When Brittney Griner, Baylor University’s star basketball player and one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of the sport, came out publicly as gay last month, she was rather nonchalant about it.
But, as Griner revealed a few weeks later, she wasn’t allowed to be open as much as she might have liked.

International Day Against Homophobia
CAAWS Salutes Work Being Done to Make Sport More Welcoming to those who are LGBTQ and Announces the Development of a Coaching Resource in Partnership with Coaches of Canada and AthletesCan.

Brittney Griner: Story on Coming Out
May 6, 2013 - Yesterday in The New York Times, Brittney Griner wrote about her story of coming out, growing up, being bullied, and living an honest life.
Basketball star, Brittney Griner talks about her experience being bullied and how life got better for her in this video for the It Gets Better Project.

When It Comes To Erasing Homophobia, Why Sports Matters
“It's this idea that team sports are physically, and emotionally, bonding,” says Kimmell. “The sports dynamic is not unlike the military. And like the military, there's been this thought in sports that an openly-gay person would disturb this male ...

You Can Play co-founder challenges homophobia among fans
You Can Play co-founder Brian Kitts says two instances of homophobia among fans at an April 20 Ottawa Senators versus Toronto Maple Leafs game are “detrimental to the sport.” Ottawa Senators fan Emily Bradley, 29, left the game at Scotiabank Place...

Casey Stoney: Homosexuality in sport should not be an issue
The recent news about male sports stars coming out as gay has made me think that things are moving in the right direction regarding homophobia in sport. NBA basketball star Jason Collins is still playing and declared his sexuality this week, while ...

The double standard of sports sexuality

Vancouver athletes hail gay NBA player
Canadian Olympic Gold Medallist Mark Tewksbury, who came out 15 years ago, says the fact Collins came out will help him become a better NBA player. "I think the difficulty as an individual is to not be who you are, because you're always fighting your own energy," Tewksbury said.

Nike signs out lesbian Brittney Griner
The WNBA star's endorsement deal confirms Nike's commitment to LGBT athletes

The meaning of Jason Collins' coming out
The kids today will never know a world without an openly gay male pro athlete

Here are some female pro athletes who came out years before Jason Collins
While the sports world acknowledges the reality that prominent gay professional athletes like Jason Collins exist, our friends at Buzzfeed remind us that the ladies have been breaking barriers as self-identified lesbians for decades.

Martina Navratilova: Jason Collins a 'game-changer'
Now that Jason Collins has come out, he is the proverbial "game-changer." One of the last bastions of homophobia has been challenged.

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Opens Up About Being Gay in Professional Sports: "Don't Hide Who You Really Are"
"Being one that's out, it's just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are," Brittney, who is openly gay, explained. "Don't worry about what other people are going to say, because they're always going to say something, but if you're just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don't hide who you really are."

Female Star Comes Out as Gay, and Sports World Shrugs
One of the most dominant basketball players in recent memory came out as gay Wednesday, casually mentioning the fact in an interview as if it were an afterthought. The news media and the sports world seemed to treat it as such, too, with little mention of the star’s sexuality showing up on social media or on message boards, and virtually no analysis of what the revelation meant for tolerance in society as a whole.

National Education Index for students interested in pursuing undergraduate and graduate programs across the US. is a comprehensive and informative resource that systematically sorts out the available undergraduate and graduate programs available today in the U.S.

Day of Pink Gala - Ottawa
Join us for the 8th Annual & International Day of Pink Gala, April 10th, 6 p.m., Government Conference Centre, Ottawa. Featuring: The Rt Hon. Michaëlle Jean, Jian Ghomeshi, Mark Tewksbury, Stephanie La Rochelle. Download the pdf poster. (.pdf, 1.6MB)

An openly gay player in the NFL is not a distraction
"Don't be a distraction." These words are pounded into every single NFL player's head from the day he enters the league until the day he leaves (and I would imagine it holds true for just about every professional sport). The same message, over and over and over -- "The team comes first," "Sacrifice your personal goals to win," "Only be judged by what goes on between the lines" -- which is why I find it unsurprising that there are no openly gay athletes in any of the big four professional sports leagues in the U.S.: the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB.

You Can Play Burnaby: Ensuring a level playing field for gay athletes
April 2, 2013 - How many professional gay athletes do you know? Zero? That's what BC Lions wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi, who identifies as straight, thought when he was asked that question. But he soon found he was second-guessing himself. "Maybe I have played with some gay athletes," he said. "Maybe they just didn't feel comfortable enough to come out.

Gay slurs still mainstream in world of professional sports
April 2, 2013 - Pro football teams may think it is acceptable to ask prospective employees about their sexual orientation, but a public forum in Burnaby was told empathically otherwise. If the culture changes, it might in part come about because of B.C. Lions receiver Marco Iannuzzi, who is hoping to advance the discussion of homophobia in sports in a manner once done with race and religion.

Conference tackling homophobia in the locker room
March 25, 2013 - Saskatoon – The longest-running anti-homophobia conference in Canada began tackling issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in sports at the University of Saskatchewan yesterday. This year’s theme ‘removing homophobia from the locker room and beyond’ – aims to change a certain stigma often found in sports.

UK Sports minister supports anti-homophobia target for clubs
March 20, 2013 - Only 29 of 92 clubs are actively engaged in the 'Football v Homophobia' initiative which launched in February. But campaigners are hoping 50% of clubs join the scheme by the end of March, with the Football Association issuing a toolkit to help them.

Fair go, sport! Evaluation and Flexible Model of Engagement released
March 19, 2013 - Being able to participate in sport is good for our health and wellbeing - and it's a great way to connect and develop a sense of belonging. However, recent research by Victoria and La Trobe universities [Australia] shows sport is a significant site for homophobic harassment and exclusion. and

Athletes to Speak at Burnaby Forum on Homophobia in Sport

What’s The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) Got To Do With It?

On June 24, 2009, Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank submitted a bill to the United States House of Representatives that, if passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Obama, would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), as the bill is known, would ensure fair employment practices by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or fail to promote an employee based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Religious organizations, the military and businesses with a small number of employees would be exempt from the law. The first version of this “gay rights” bill was introduced in 1974 by Representatives Bella Abzug and Ed Koch from New York. Thirty-five years later, prospects for passage of this basic civil rights protection into federal law are much better, and reflect changing societal perspectives on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender rights.

Currently twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Twelve of these states also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity/expression. In addition, many cities and towns across the US have similar laws. If it became law, ENDA would be the first federal law extending non-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation.

A version of ENDA that did not include gender identity/expression was introduced in 2007, but was not acted on. ENDA supporters in the legislature believed that they could not pass the bill with gender identity included. The decision to drop protections for gender identity discrimination prompted several gay rights organizations and leaders to withdraw their support of ENDA if it did not include protections on the basis of gender identity and expression.

So, what does ENDA have to do with sports? It is a sad and shameful truth that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (or those perceived to be) are still discriminated against in sports. Prospective women coaches are still not hired because they are (or are perceived to be) lesbian or bisexual. Women coaches thought to be lesbian or bisexual are harassed, stereotyped, fired or targeted for negative recruiting by rival coaches.

Male coaches who are gay or perceived to be gay would also be protected by ENDA. Though men’s sports has traditionally been perceived to be a hostile environment for gay men, more gay coaches, administrators, athletic trainers and other staff are choosing to identify themselves. Negative recruiting against male coaches based on sexual orientation is an increasing problem as gay men become more visible in sport. Until women’s and men’s sports eliminate homophobia, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletic employees need legal protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, not just in twenty states, but in all fifty states. That is what a federal non-discrimination law would ensure.

Challenging sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is possible, even without a federal law prohibiting discrimination. (The Women’s Sports Foundation’s It Takes A Team initiative includes information on laws and legal resources to combat discrimination.) However, a federal law would extend discrimination protection to all states and would provide employees targeted by gender and sexual orientation discrimination with a powerful additional legal tool equivalent to other federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin and disability.

Passage of ENDA would provide federal protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression for employees in athletics: athletic administrators, coaches, athletic trainers and all others who work in athletics.

Supporters of equality in sport for women have a stake in supporting legislation that protects athletic employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as well. As long as any woman coach, administrator or other athletic staff member is subject to discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, all women are at risk being targeted by this kind of unfair treatment.

The Women’s Sports Foundation supports legislation that provides protection from discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Women’s and men’s sport will benefit from ensuring that all participants are able to coach and compete in a climate where their achievements are based on their competence and character, not on their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are two of several organizations working to secure passage of ENDA.

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