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June 17, 2021

Pride is So Much More

June is here & that means Pride Month! Happy Pride everyone! 


If you follow the Lead Thru Sport website or Instagram page you will have seen us celebrating Pride by sharing the thoughts, perspectives and ideas of athletes, parents and coaches across Canada. 


We started by asking them what does Pride mean to you? 


According to these leaders, Pride means embracing individuality, being your truest self, being proud of all you stand for, being inclusive, celebrating and uplifting people living their most authentic lives, and living your full truth. 


To me, Pride means so many things. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month makes me feel seen and included. It provides me with a sense of belonging and comfort. I feel very fortunate that I have the privilege to celebrate my truest self, and acknowledge that there are many places around the world in which Pride is not celebrated, but rather condemned. 


This month is also a reminder to continue to educate myself. Remembering that pride was born from a riot. On June 28th, 1969 New York City police raided a gay club pulling people roughly out of the bar leading to 6 days of protests and riots. These are called the Stonewall Riots, which propelled the gay rights movment. 


Holistically, I feel that Pride Month is a time to recognize all of the hardship that the LGBTQ+ community has and continues to go through, but also a time to celebrate all the progress we have made. Progress that would not have been possible without the support of allies. Which brings me to our next question. 


We asked our Lead Thru Sport community, how do you demonstrate allyship? 


Being inclusive, showing up & standing up, togetherness, being receptive, acting with compassion, being open minded, with unconditional acceptance and by continuously learning.


Defining allyship can be so difficult. Not because being an ally is hard or ambiguous, but simply put there are so many ways each of us can show allyship for out LGBTQ+ friends, family, coworkers and teammates. Sport itself is an amazing tool to bring people together. Regardless of background, religious affiliation, sexual or gender identity. Sport is a unifier. Unfortunately it is not always a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ athletes.


So what can you as a fan, teammate or coach do to change that? 


Lead Thru Sport recently teamed up with You Can Play , whose mission is to ensure the safety and inclusion of all LGBTQ+ people in sports. Two fantastic members from You Can Play, Lauren & David, ran a workshop on sport inclusion and allyship. I’ve included a couple of key takeaways below that you can apply in your everyday life to continuously work to be an active ally. 

  1. Learn current terminology: use non-gendered language! Instead of “hey guys” say “hey everyone”

  2. Act as though you have a LGBTQ+ member of your team and treat all athletes the same

  3. Be willing to learn from LGBTQ+ teammates by admitting when you don’t know or understand, then listening 

  4. Interrupt & Intervene 


This last point is the most difficult but most applicable and impactful from my perspective. I was left with specific phrases and examples to apply in everyday situations in which someone has said or done something that could be offensive to another. 


To respond directly you can: 

  1. Clarify & ask for more information

  2. Bring it back to the common values of the group

  3. Refer to your own journey

  4. Point out the hurtful behaviour

  5. Explain its effects


Specific examples of each can be found here along with indirect ways of responding. 


Pride Month is a reminder for us to continuously learn and evolve into better, more aware allies each and every day. Pride Month is a reminder for us to care for the LGBTQ+ community and to support everyone regardless of their preferences. 


As leaders in the sport community, let's ensure that sport continues to unify. We are all people and we all deserve respect. 


Note: I would like to recognize that June is also National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated on the 21st. You can read more about this here

Written By: Sarah Saftich


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