It’s been almost five years since Patrick Burke, Glenn Witman and Brian Kitts founded the You Can Play project. Originally designed largely as a video opportunity for people in sports to express their inclusion of LGBTQ people, the organization has since broadened its scope to include policy advocacy and educational opportunities.
Burke has since mostly stepped away from the organization, but the work of staff members like Jillian Svensson and Chris Mosier sticks to the roots of Burke’s original vision of “cleaning up” the environment in and around sports so LGBTQ people will feel more comfortable participating as their true selves.
We asked You Can Play to share some of their proudest accomplishments from 2016:
- Made history with the CFL twice: we co-created a YCP apparel line that is available year-round and hosted the first league-sanctioned LGBTQ event during Grey Cup weekend;
- Created six regional boards across North America that mobilize athletes, coaches, advocates and sports professionals to utilize their platforms to spread the You Can Play message;
- Presented an athlete panel and skill-building workshop for LGBTQ youth and allies at Nike World Headquarters;
- Provided mentorship and guidance for the first transgender hockey player in professional team sports in North America, and worked with their league to create the most progressive trans-inclusion policy in professional sports;
- Facilitated in-person trainings for thousands of student-athletes and coaches through our partnerships with college conferences;
- Facilitated Hi-Five events that brought professional athletes to local LGBTQ youth-serving organizations across North America.