Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQ Athletes and Coaches
Newly revised in 2017 with the support of Sport Canada and in partnership with AthletesCAN and the Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS’ ground-breaking resource - Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQ Athletes and Coaches—is a practical resource for coaches and other sport leaders to create welcoming, inclusive teams. This second edition still reflects the voices of Canadian LGBTQ and cisgender athletes and coaches, but now includes the Canadian results of the international Out on the Fields Study on Homophobia in Sport (2015), as well as the recent guidance to sport organizations on creating inclusive environments for trans identities released by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (2016).Download the Resources.

Step Up! Speak Out! Ally Campaign for Inclusive Sport
Step Up! Speak Out! is a Canadian initiative to make sport more welcoming by encouraging athletes, coaches, officials, sport administrators, parents and fans to respect all individuals regardless of perceived or actual sexual orientation.


LGBTQ+-PHOBIA: A Gendered Perspective
May 2018 - A presentation at Egale Canada’s inaugural LGBTQI2S Identities Conference held May 23-25, 2018 in Toronto by Jennifer Birch-Jones, CAAWS Program Lead for LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport collaboration with Guylaine Demers (Laval) and Camille Michon (Laval). The presentation focuses on LGBTQI2S inclusion in sport using a gender-based analysis lens, reflecting the latest Canadian research and including recommended actions sport organizations can take. Download the Presentation. (.pdf)

LGBTQ Youth Athletes Should ‘Play Proud’
June 12, 2018 - Whether you call it soccer, football, or “the beautiful game,” it’s a global phenomenon. Play Proud is a vital new initiative from Streetfootballworld USA designed to protect some of soccer’s most vulnerable players, and June is Pride Month.

The question of gender in sport: Are you woman enough?
Are you woman enough? This is the question that has been repeatedly asked of Caster Semenya ever since, in 2009, at the age of 18, she blew away the competition to win gold at the World Championships in Berlin. Semenya was born and raised a woman but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) dictate their own set of criteria for who is female enough for their women’s competitions. So Semenya faced a choice: undergo medically unnecessary hormone treatment, or give up the career she loves. It is an ultimatum that no other woman, in any walk of life, would face.

2018 IDAHO BLOG - Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQI2S Athletes and Coaches.
by Jennifer Birch-Jones, CAAWS Program Lead for LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is held annually on May 17th to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. This year’s global theme is “Alliances for Solidarity” which is appropriate for our work in Canada to make sport more welcoming for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning, intersex and two spirited (LGBTQI2S).

New testosterone rules for athletes discriminatory, Ottawa group says
New rules that would prevent female athletes with high natural testosterone levels from running middle-distance races for women are discriminatory, says an Ottawa-based sports and ethics organization.

Opposition to IAAF Classification Regulations
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the CAAWS are speaking out against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) new Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification that pertains to athletes with differences of sex development.

Pride House Founder to Receive IGLTA’s Pioneer Award
“We are excited to celebrate Dean Nelson, who developed a way to champion diversity through major international sports events such as the Olympic Games, an event that touches lives around the world.” said Juan Julià, IGLTA Board Chair.

Softball coach calls out league policy on transgender players, sparks national response
An Edmonton softball coach who raised red flags about his amateur league's approach to transgender players has prompted policy reviews at the sport's highest levels in Canada.

Jury slams Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth with $3.74 million judgment for firing lesbian coach
March 16, 2018 - Miller sued the school after she was fired following a very successful 16 years there. Miller, along with her wife and then-fired UMD softball coach Jen Banford, claimed the firing was the result of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and age. The Federal jury agreed.

Gay at the Games: How Canada is hosting Pride House, a safe space for LGBT athletes at the Olympics
There are 13 out and proud LGBT athletes at the Winter Olympics, out of more than 3,000 competitors. While that number may seem low, it's almost double the number who were out at Sochi — seven. "I promise, for every athlete that's out, there's at least one or two that aren't," said Mark Tewksbury, a Canadian swimmer who won Olympic gold in 1992, and later came out as gay.

Canada Olympic House will be a home to Pride House
COC is proud to announce that for the first time ever, Pride House will be directly affiliated and hosted by a National Olympic Committee. Canada Olympic House (COH) will be a home to Pride House during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. This represents a unique partnership between the COC and Pride House International (PHI) to celebrate, on a more meaningful scale than ever before, our shared values of inclusion, diversity, and respect.

CWHL's first transgender woman finds comfort, confidence in professional hockey
Jessica Platt learned to skate in a backyard ice rink her family built in a neighbor's yard. Today, she plays for the Toronto Furies, a Canadian Women's Hockey League team. "I'm hoping I can help other trans people and trans athletes know that they can achieve their dreams," Platt said. "Even if one person is inspired or helped, then I feel like I succeeded at something."

CAAWS Leading the Way Webinar – Latest Research and Promising Practices and Resources for LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport
Join CAAWS’ Jennifer Birch-Jones and Egale Action’s Guylaine Demers to discuss Guylaine’s current research on the sport experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes and the implications for sport organizations. Promising practices, new resources and initiatives underway on LGBTQI2S inclusion in sport will also be shared.
Listen to our latest webinar, February 15th, 2018
Download the February 15th, 2018 webinar slides (.pdf)

Écouter notre dernier webinaire, le 13 février 2018.
Télécharger Les diapositives de cet atelier - le 13 février 2018. (.pdf)

This Edmonton-based gym for LGBTQ people is the first of its kind in Canada
Kyle Fairall, who runs Queerflex, was nominated for a human rights award for their work with the gym

COC Summit on LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport
Jennifer Birch-Jones, the CAAWS Program Lead for LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport, was recently a guest panelist at the Canadian Olympic Committee’s half-day workshop on LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Diversity on November 25th in Calgary as part of their annual meeting. Moderated by Dr. Guylaine Demers (Laval University) and Dr. William Bridel (Calgary University), the panel highlighted work Jennifer is leading as part of the LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion Task Force’s (SITF) NSO Pilot Project with Gymnastics Canada and out Olympians Rosie Cossar (Rhythmic Gymnastics) and Kris Burley (Artistic Gymnastics) to make their sport more welcoming to LGBTQIQS minorities. Ilan Yampolsky from Skate Canada also spoke of their work with Dr. William Bridel on the SITF’s NSO Pilot Project that is being supported by a three year SHRC grant.
Additional presentations were made on the important work being done by Egale Canada and You Can Play. The half-day educational session was attended by over 200 senior members of N/MSOs, as well as local PSOs from the host province of Alberta. The session culminated in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) Awards and Recognition Committee presenting the 2017 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Trophy for Sport Beyond Borders to You Can Play. For more information about the session and / or the NSO pilot work underway, contact jb-j@caaws.ca

You Can Play awarded 2017 IOC Trophy for Sport Beyond Borders
Dec 2017 - The Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) Awards and Recognition Committee presented the 2017 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Trophy for Sport Beyond Borders to You Can Play.

Minor hockey coaches, trainers get mandatory training on being trans-inclusive
Dec 2017 - Ontario hockey coaches, trainers and managers have been instructed to take training programs in support of transgender players.

An open discussion about sport and homophobia (video)
September 29, 2017 - Scott Russell, host of Road to the Olympic Games, leads the conversation with author and Olympian Marnie McBean, vice-president of development & operations at You Can Play Jillian Svensson, and Paulo Senra, the CFL's director of communications.

Kristen Worley’s continuing battle for dignity in sports (Video)
July 18, 2017 - Testosterone alone is an insufficient marker to distinguish men from women says elite Canadian transgender cyclist

Cycling Canada, OCA, the UCI, and Canadian Athlete Kristen Worley Settle Human Rights Application to Promote Inclusive Sporting Environments
July 18, 2017 - “Today, I am satisfied that the sport of cycling in Canada and internationally have committed to help advocate for issues facing XY female athletes,” said Worley. “My vision encourages sport and the Olympic Movement to do what it is supposed to do best: harmonizing and celebrating through sport the magic and enormity of our human diversity.”

Historic support from Canadian sports teams, players for Pride
June 24, 2017 - An historic number of athletes, coaches, management and staff from Toronto sports teams and organizations will be attending this year's Pride Parade in Toronto. More than 120 people representing the NHL, CFL, Canada Basketball, Canadian Olympic Committee and You Can Play are joining forces to continue their march towards making sport a more inclusive space.

An open letter from Martina Navratilova to Margaret Court Arena
Sporting venues named for athletes, or any place, really, named for whoever, are so named for one reason. That reason is their whole body of work. In other words, it is not just for what this person did on the field, on the court, in politics, arts or science, for instance, but also for who they are as human beings.

CAAWS Leading the Way Webinar – LGBTQI2S Inclusion for Your Sport Organization
January 13, 2017
Thanks for joining the webinar! Missed it? Check out the replay!

Edmonton's LGBTQ rainbow hockey tape goes international
Dec. 2016 - Pride Tape 'a phenomenal made-in-Edmonton success story,' says co-creator of rainbow hockey tape. Splashes of rainbow-coloured hockey tape are raising awareness about LGBTQ athletes worldwide, after an Edmonton-based campaign crossed the ocean.

2016 Sport Leadership Conference – Leading the Way Workshop
November 3, 2016 - Jennifer Birch-Jones
Download the presentation (.pdf, 2.23 MB)

Sport North Introduces Team NWT You Can Play Video
Sport North is privileged to formally join the You Can Play movement, and is beyond grateful to the athletes, coaches, and officials who stepped up participate in our TEAM NWT You Can Play video – the first of its kind by a provincial or territorial sports organization in Canada!

Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQ Athletes and Coaches – A Focus on Trans Inclusion: Webinar
October 24, 2016, Jennifer Birch-Jones
Download the webinar presentation (.pdf, 7.15 MB)
Listen to the webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6883023432421815307

Just Being Himself, in a Professional Women’s Hockey League
Oct 20, 2016 - He changed his voice mail recording and created a new email address. He updated his LinkedIn profile, too, to reflect his new name. With those details settled, and the National Women’s Hockey League season about to begin, Harrison Browne, who was born Hailey Browne and identifies as a man, was ready to debut as the first openly transgender athlete in professional team sports in North America.

At least 9 out LGBT athletes competing at the Paralympics in Rio
After a Summer Olympic Games that saw a record-smashing number of publicly out lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes, the Paralympics are set to follow suit in Rio. We know of at least nine publicly out Paralympians who will be competing for gold in Rio, the most we have known of in a single Paralympics.

Homophobia becomes a crime in Italian sport
Italian sports authorities have taken a clear position in support of LGBT rights. In an historic decision, Italy’s National Olympic Committee unanimously approved an amendment to its statute, which introduces the crime of homophobia.

CCES Releases Guide to Creating Inclusive Environments for Trans Participants in Canadian Sport
“I commend the work that the Trans Inclusion in Sport Expert Working Group has done to develop guiding policy and practices for sport organizations to better include trans participants in the Canadian sport system,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

How Major Codes are Tackling Homophobia in Sport
Australia, April 27, 2016 - In 2014 Cricket Australia lead the way in taking steps to eradicate homophobia from their code by signing the ‘Anti-Homophobia in Sport Framework,’ and in 2015 also released their ‘A Sport for All’ diversity and inclusion resource for Australian cricket clubs. It’s not just Cricket Australia. All the major Australian sporting codes have now signed onto the world first ‘Pride in Sport’ index.

Is sport waking up to homophobia?
Out On The Fields is the first international study on homophobia in sport, compiling responses from almost 9,500 people, including around 25% from heterosexual men and women. The study found that 80% of people had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport

Adidas Encourages Star Athletes to Come Out
The world's second largest sportswear company is shaking up the sports industry by being the first company to guarantee they will not terminate any endorsement deals if the athlete comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Problems in sport run deeper than homophobia
A University of Auckland researcher is taking a closer look at the experiences LGBTI people have when it comes to women’s sport in the hope to better understand the rigid ideas the sporting world maintains in regards to masculinity and femininity.

Rainbow coloured hockey tape symbol of LGBTQ support
A new initiative aims to promote inclusion in sports through the colour of hockey tape. Pride Tape is the brainchild of the University of Alberta’s Sexual Minority Studies and Services.

The Canadian Women's Hockey League and You Can Play Team Up
On Saturday January 2nd, 2016 the Canadian Women’s Hockey League will be hosting two games in partnership with You Can Play to support and promote equality for all athletes, coaches, staff and fans without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Download promotional info (pdf, 152KB)

PrideHouse Toronto: Ensuring a place for all in sport
PrideHouse Toronto has achieved a number of firsts. For the first time in Pan Am history, an openly gay runner participated in the torch relay, arising from the close partnership of PrideHouseTO with the TORONTO 2015 Organizing Committee. It’s the first to ever receive government funding, which in this case came from the government of Ontario and City of Toronto. And PrideHouse TO lead partner CIBC is the first major corporate sponsor in the history of the Pride House movement.

LGBT issues in sports 101
The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, will offer a course next year called “Sports and Sexual Diversity” in its undergraduate program.

PrideHouse Toronto to continue drive for LGBTQ inclusion during Parapan American Games
More than 31,000 people visited PrideHouse Toronto during the Pan American Games, from a variety of countries from across the region.
They are now hoping to have similar success during the Parapan American Games and are keeping PrideHouse Pavilion open throughout the duration of the event, which opens today and is due to last until August 15.

Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games: the Change Room Project
“The first time I encountered a homophobic slur, it was written on the wall in a locker room in my elementary school.” – Elise, lesbian, graduate student. Walking into a gym locker room can evoke a spectrum of emotions. For many users, it’s a get-in-and-get-out-fast type of experience. But few people talk about why they feel the way they do about these spaces.

Canadian Olympic Committee launches campaign to promote LGBTQ inclusion
In the moments before Anastasia Bucsis stepped on the ice to race, when her sole focus should have been on what she had to do to win, the speedskater would be consumed by worries that went way beyond sport. What if her competitors knew she was gay? “Which is ridiculous because it shouldn’t matter,” Bucsis said...

Canadian Olympic Committee Launches #OneTeam LGBTQ PSA to Strengthen Message of Inclusion in Sport
#OneTeam Ambassadors stand up for inclusion in sport
TORONTO — On Tuesday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) launched its first ever #OneTeam LGBTQ inclusion in sport Public Service Announcement (PSA), documenting the challenges that featured athletes faced growing up and competing in sport while being closeted.

Keeper Erin McLeod comes out, leads team and fans as Canadian role model
The 32-year-old goalkeeper is about to play in her third Women’s World Cup. It has been only in recent years, though, that she has truly taken the leap to be exactly who she is – an athlete, an artist, an activist and someone who will speak publicly about being gay

Homophobia in sports still pervasive in Canada, new study shows
New data shows that homophobia is still alive and well in Canadian sports and the study, which is the first of its kind, suggests anti-gay attitudes are deterring young people from being active in some athletic fields.

Canadian Olympic Committee tackling LGBT issues this week
Continuing on the quest it started six months ago with its #OneTeam initiative, the Canadian Olympic Committee will host an international roundtable on LGBT inclusion in sport this Thursday. The roundtable features various panels and conversations focused on identifying challenges to change in sport and solutions to advancing that change on LGBT issues.

Out Proud Radio Interview with Jennifer Birch-Jones
December 5, 2014 - This was an informative discussion about Women in Sport and Homophobia in Sports with my guest Jennifer Birch Jones, life-long athlete and well known volunteer, national referee, sports professional and advocate for the advancement of women in sport.