A Year of Advocacy and Partnerships

19 December 2012

This was a busy year for OUTSPORT TORONTO in terms of partnerships and advocacy work.  Building on solid work done in 2011, OUTSPORT TORONTO hit the ground running.  Following is a retrospective of 2012 Partnership and Advocacy work.

January 2012 – At the annual Town Hall, member organisations state they want OUTSPORT TORONTO “at the table” representing them for PrideHouseTO, the LGBT pavilion and accompanying programming for the Pan / ParaPan American Games in 2015.

May 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO presents “Making it Better Now: Ending Homophobia and Transphobia is School Athletics and Physical Education” at the TDSB Futures 2012 conference.  A committee of representatives from Crag Crux Climbers, Toronto Gay Football League, Toronto Gay Hockey Association, Triggerfish Water Polo, Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps, and others develop a 75-minute workshop focused on pragmatic approaches to create inclusive, safe, and welcoming environments for all students.  OUTSPORT TORONTO produces the short film “Then and Now” as part of the material for the workshop, with participation of members of member organisations.

June 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO meets with the Ontario Volleyball Association, discusses partnering, and development of an inclusivity and anti-homophbia and anti-transphobia policy for the OVA.  OUTSPORT TORONTO commences work on a draft policy.

June 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO presents at counsellor orientation for Camp U of T, the University of Toronto’s day-camp programme, as part of counsellor training on sexual and gender diversity.

July 2012 – After consistent involvement with the PrideHouseTO project from its inception, OUTSPORT TORONTO is elected co-chairing organisation along with GLISA.

September 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO presents an hour-long session on diversity and inclusion as part of first-year varsity athletes’ two-day orientation at the University of Toronto.

September 2012 – During the Escobar incident with the Toronto Blue Jays, OUTSPORT TORONTO’s Catherine Meade, James Scott, and Shawn Sheridan appear on CP24, TSN Radio, and CBC’s The National as advocates for LGBT sport and recreation, providing reactions to Escobar’s stunt.  OUTSPORT TORONTO issues its press release detailing its reaction to the events, and writes the Blue Jays offering support in the healing that will now have to happen.

September 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO’s Stephanie Bell appears on "Sex Brains & Money" on the AllTalkTV.com Network, talking about Escobar, and homophobia and misogyny in professional sports.

October 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO partners with the University of Toronto in presenting “Junior Scrum”, an afternoon workshop to explore barriers to LGBT youth to participation in LGBT Sport and Recreation.  Findings from that afternoon session carry over into the Scrum’s afternoon session on youth in LGBT Sport and Recreation.

October 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO and The 519 partner to create the LGBT Sport Leadership Programme.  Over 20 participants register for and commence the programme with the first session at OUTSPORT TORONTO’s annual conference, Scrum 2012.  The eight-session programme will build skill and capacity within LGBT Sport and Recreation leadership.

November 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO attends the PrimeTime Sports Conference, networking with leaders in professional sports and ensuring they know about the vibrant LGBT Sport and Recreation community, and opportunities for partnering.

November 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO is asked by the You Can Play Project to represent the Project on a Grey Cup panel.    OUTSPORT TORONTO’s Ken Meiklejohn co-moderates an evening bullying-prevention panel event with Jason Colero, the Argos Director of Education Programs.  The panel consists of a parent, a kids help phone counselor, an administrator, a Toronto Police Social Media expert, and a transgender student who was bullied.

November 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO's Shawn Sheridan speaks as part of a panel on LGBT rights and the changes that need to occur as a result of the Pan / ParaPan American Games being held in Toronto.  The panel, which included Paul Genest, Deputy Minister Pan / ParaPan American Games Secretariat, and Luise Lutgens, was part of a day-long session held at Hart House.

December 2012OUTSPORT TORONTO completes the draft policy for diversity and inclusion and sends it to the OVA for review and comment.