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 is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

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

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