Awesome “You Can Play” campaign aims to end homophobia in sports

I’m excited to report on a new campaign that aims to end homophobia in sports by promoting the not-so-radical idea that athletes should be judged by talent, heart and work ethic, and not sexual orientation.

As first reported in the NY Times, the “You Can Play” campaign is intended to “make locker rooms safe for all athletes, rather than places of fear, slurs and bullying. Check out the introductory PSA, centering on hockey, below!

But the campaign is especially important when considered in the context of today’s professional sports culture. The NFL only recently added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination language and has not exactly picked up a reputation for being staunch advocates of sexual assault victims.

As I wrote a few months ago when Michael Irvin, the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, posed for the cover of Out Magazine to show his support for equality, seeing professional athletes whose public image is one of hyper-masculinity speak publicly about the importance of equality is pretty great. Back in June when the San Francisco Giants became the first major sports team to release an “It Gets Better” video, it was a warm and fuzzy moment as well.

So I’m glad this campaign exists. I hope that it will make a difference and inspire all athletes, not just male hockey players,  to vocally supporting the ever-increasing number of openly gay people on their teams and in their communities, and get involved in pro-equality politics.

You can follow You Can Play on Twitter, @YouCanPlayTeam – like their Facebook page here – and subscribe to their YouTube channel.


Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

Read more about Lori

Join the Conversation