The You Can Play Project, led by NHL Scout Patrick Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and keynote speaker at OUTSPORT TORONTO’s 2011 Fall Scrum, launched today, March 4th with a PSA on NBC during the New York Rangers-Boston Bruins game. The spot featured eight NHL players voicing their support and respect for LGBT athletes. A full media blitz will follow over the next several days with a slow reveal of other participating athletes over the next few weeks. The video of the PSA is at the end of this article.
You Can Play is the most aggressive project in support of respect for LGBT athletes to date. The message is simple for both athletes in a locker room and fans in the stands: athletes should be judged solely on talent, heart, desire and work ethic, and not on the basis of sexual orientation or other discriminatory factors.
The Project’s goals are clear. The first is to change the culture of locker rooms, making locker rooms safe for all athletes rather than places of fear, slurs, and bullying. The second is to change the culture of fans, making any sports venue free from attitudes that demean athletes or fans based on sexual orientation or identity.
You Can Play is a team of gay athletes and straight allies working to promote respect and equality in sports. The project will offer a combination of video messages, educational programs and other resources for high schools, colleges and universities, and professional teams and leagues.
OUTSPORT TORONTO fully supports the You Can Play Project, and views this program as a critical step towards bringing positive change to the locker room. OUTSPORT TORONTO serves and supports LGBT sports and recreation groups in the Greater Toronto Area, and as such has a deep understanding of the issues facing LGBT athletes, and the incredibly positive impact of inclusive and accepting sport environments. OUTSPORT TORONTO represents over 20 LGBT sport groups, and over 3,000 athletes – everyone of whom will benefit greatly from the leadership role being undertaken by the Burke family and the NHL.
For more information on the You Can Play Project, see www.youcanplayproject.org .
For more information on OUTSPORT TORONTO, please eMail info@OutSportToronto.org .