LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion Task Force

Background

The 519 Church Street Community Centre in partnership with Pride House Toronto hosted ‘The 519 Sport Inclusion Summit’ from July 13-15, 2015 in Toronto. Held during the Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games in Toronto, the Summit focused on advancing LGBTQ inclusion at the recreational level of sport. Delegates included representatives from Municipal Parks and Recreation Departments, Provincial and National Sport and Multi-Sport Organizations, LGBT Sport Organizations, LGBT Human Rights and the Pride House Movement. Recommendations from the Summit outlines opportunities for more inclusive practice in five areas of sport; the national and provincial/territorial sport organizations, municipal parks and recreation departments, LGBTQI2S sport organizations, Pride House stakeholders, and the education sector. Creation of an LGBTQI2S Inclusion Task Force and the subsequent issuance of an annual report card on the LGBTQI2S inclusion climate in Canada were two key recommendations from the Summit.

Goal

The LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion Task Force is a flexible, informal coalition working to end LGBTQI2S bias in sport through education for and promotion of LGBTQI2S inclusion in Canadian sport.

Objectives

+  Sport organizations (at all levels) in Canada are aware of LGBTQI2S issues in Canadian sport.

+  Sport organizations in- Canada have the capacity (knowledge, skills and abilities) to make Canadian sport more LGBTQI2S inclusive.

+  Sport organizations in Canada commit to taking action on making LGBTQI2S sport more LGBTQI2S inclusive.

+  Canadian sport is LGBTQI2S inclusive.

 

 

 

 

Who’s Involved?

A Coordinating Committee comprised of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS), Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (Egale), PGA Canada, and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and up to four LGBTQI2S athlete and coach representatives, at least one of which is gender diverse, will have responsibility for coordinating and chairing meetings and overseeing implementation of the action items.

What Has Been Done So Far?

Environmental scan of LGBTQI2S sport inclusion strategies, resources and promising practices

This activity was informed by the ‘Policy, Programs, Athlete Experiences, and Social Activism: A Report for the LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion Task Force on the Current State of Canadian Sport Related to LGBTQIA+ Inclusion’. The Primary objective of the report was to determine what policies have been developed by Canadian National Sport Organizations (NSOs) related to LGBTQIA+ inclusion. A secondary purpose was to determine what, if any, educational materials and programs might be made available by NSOs to members. The outcomes of the policy review were considered in relation to the experiences of LGBTQIA+ athletes, as well as preliminary findings from an analysis of social activism materials.

The results of the report found great inconsistencies between sports organizations. While a majority of NSOs do include sexual orientation in harassment and/or access equity policies, only a small minority have specific policies related to Trans participation. Even fewer organizations have updated their language to include gender identity and gender expression, with the majority of the documents using the term gender. Stories shared by LGBTQI2S athletes included substantial commentary about misogynistic and homophobic language within their experiences in the Canadian sport system as well as a staunchly heteronormative sport culture that made the ideas of coming out seemingly difficult (at best) and absolutely impossible (at worst).

Although progress is being made through the education materials that are available and social activism materials through allies such as You Can Play Project and the Get Real Movement, there remains much work to be done. According to the results of an international survey published in 2015, 73% of participants still consider youth sport unsafe for LGBTQI2S persons. Policies on their own are ineffective and a cultural shift in sport is necessary to ensure that the policies are reflected in practice and the current educational materials are used to their full effect. In all of the athlete interviews, discrimination and harassment still took place, even in the presence of policies banning them.

One of the limitations of this type of research, is that researchers are most likely only able to access athletes who have ‘survived’ traditional sport culture to reach a certain level of competition. Research has demonstrated that LGBTQI2S youth and teens are far more likely to drop out of sport and physical activity earlier than their heterosexual peers.

It is apparent that the policy statements of the majority of national sport organizations need updating and in many cases policies need to be developed. Research has suggested that when it comes to inclusive programming in general, there seems to be a common trend at national, provincial, and municipal levels that administrators and policy-makers recognize the need for such initiatives but for various reasons such as human and financial resources, programs do not make it pass the discussion phase, or early stages of development. Thus, developing materials for national sport organizations is likely the necessary next step. The LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion Task Force seeks to assist in this process by developing an LGBTQI2S sport inclusion toolkit, including a checklist of priority actions and best practices that sport organizations can take.

What Is In The Works?

–  Working with a selection of National Sport Organizations (NSOs) to develop a LGBTQI2S sport inclusion toolkit including a checklist of priority actions of best practices sport organizations can take on for LGBTQI2S inclusion.

 

LGBTQI2S Sports Inclusion Toolkit Checklist (3)

–  Host a Sports Summit with sport leaders to identify collective individual opportunities and responsibilities for taking action to make sports LGBTIQ2S inclusive. This will be hosted with the COC.