A success! Fourth Annual OutSport Toronto SCRUM

11 December 2013

The 4th Annual OUTSPORT TORONTO “SCRUM” conference November 22-23 was a huge success!   Thank you to all who participated, making this the best ever attended conference.   

The conference started Friday afternoon with a youth session.  Focusing on how the 2015 Pan / Parpan Am Games can promote and interact with the LGBT youth community, many of the ideas were strongly rooted in a marriage of sport, art, and culture.  This session provided a strong foundation and a springboard for Toronto2015 to continue this discussion with youth in the community.

Konstantin Iablotckii receives standing ovation during keynote
Konstantin Iablotckii receives standing ovation during keynote.

Following the youth session, Friday evening’s reception at Hart House featured Russian LGBT Sports Federation co-president Konstantin Iablotckii as keynote speaker.  Deb Pearce was master of ceremonies again this year, and the 140 plus attendees included Bruce Kidd, Warden of Hart House, MP’s Craig Scott and Randell Garrison, and MPP Glen Murray.

Konstantin represents Russian LGBT sports and recreation associations across 49 regions.  He spoke eloquently of what it is like being gay in Russia, including examples of the hostile propaganda against the LGBT community.  His overview of the Federation’s history and success in spite of the challenges was inspiring.  Most inspiring was that the Russian LGBT Sports Federation is organizing the Open Games in Moscow right after the Olympics and before the Paralympics. 

Friday evening's address closed with a spontaneous auction of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation shirts.  Proceeds are going towards the Open Games.  If you would like to donate to the Open Games, we have been advised by the Russian LGBT Sport Federation you can do so at http://www.russianopengames.ru/donate/ .

Saturday’s conference worshops at the 519 were very well received with participants noting that the information they garnered was relevant to their sport and their own personal development.  The atmosphere was inclusive and welcoming; lunch was scrumptious.  The day closed with a panel discussion on the how sport can make a difference.  The panelists included Konstantin Iablotckii, Kristina Flynn of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ryan Dyck of Egale Canada, Chris Studer of Get Real.  Their perspectives on the subject were thought provoking as were the questions from the audience.

Thank you all who attended.  You helped make it the best SCRUM to date!