A recent study of B.C. youth indicated that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are half as likely to play sports as their straight peers. To create an inclusive and welcoming sport sector for the LGBTQI2S community in B.C., viaSport has partnered with the You Can Play Project. viaSport is leading the B.C. sport sector to create a culture of awareness and inclusivity, and You Can Play is an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. This partnership is the first of its kind in Canada, and B.C. is the first province to partner with the You Can Play Project.
viaSport’s intent in engaging with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQI2S) communities, as well as those identifying as queer, non-binary or gender variant, is to create safe and welcoming environments for all British Columbians to participate in sport and physical activity through education, promotion, and awareness building.
“viaSport is honored to partner with You Can Play and is committed to ensuring that all British Columbians are given a fair and equitable opportunity to participate and thrive through sport,” said Sheila Bouman, Chief Executive Officer of viaSport. “Canadians value the right for gender self-determination and we need to ensure that our sport sector in B.C. reflects those same values. No matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expression, we want sport to be inclusive for everyone in our province.”
"viaSport's dedication to creating a culture of inclusivity and respect within the B.C. Sport Sector sends a clear message - if you can play, you can play in British Columbia," said Chris Mosier, Vice President of Program Development and Community Relations at You Can Play. "You Can Play is proud to collaborate with viaSport in this ground-breaking partnership."
The You Can Play Project and viaSport will work together on policy review and development, resource creation and educational outreach. viaSport will activate a number of initiatives throughout the summer to increase awareness around LGBTQI2S inclusion. Here are some ways British Columbians can get involved:
- REGISTER to join Team viaSport in the Frontrunners 5k Run, July 22, 2017
- MARCH with viaSport, the Canadian Olympic Committee and You Can Play in the Vancouver Pride Parade, August 6, 2017
- LEARN more about ways to make sport more inclusive at an educational forum viaSport is co-hosting with You Can Play, September 19, 2017
About viaSport British Columbia:
viaSport British Columbia is a not-for-profit organization created by the Provincial Government in 2011 as a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Our mandate is to increase awareness, opportunity and participation in sport across the province – at every stage of life and in every community. By leading the province’s sport sector in building a stronger, more effective system, we will bring more families to the field of play, more fans into the stands, more athletes to the podium, and more sports events to the province. Learn more at viasport.ca
About You Can Play:
You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, and only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. To learn more, visit youcanplayproject.org
Director, Communications & Engagement, viaSport
Vice President, Program Development & Community Relations, You Can Play