(Ottawa, Ont.) CAAWS, along with its partners AthletesCAN and Coaches of Canada, launched Leading the Way: Working with LGBT Athletes and Coaches. This resource is designed for use primarily by coaches, and highlights current lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (transgender), and two-spirited (LGBT) issues taking place in Canadian sport from the playground to the podium, and provides best practices for coaches on making their sport a more welcoming place for those who identify as LGBT.
“CAAWS recognized the gap in available resources that address the important issue of LGBTphobia in sport in Canada,” says Karin Lofstrom, CAAWS executive director. “Leading the Way addresses this issue, while providing practical strategies to support coaches at all levels in ensuring an inclusive environment of openness and respect for all participants and coaching staff.”
“At the end of the day, all coaches want to get optimum performance from all of their athletes while respecting who they are as people,” says Erin McLeod, goalkeeper for Canada’s National Women’s Soccer Team and Olympic bronze medalist at the 2012 Games. “This resource will assist them in providing optimal environments for all participants.”
Written by Jennifer Birch-Jones, an athlete, national referee and well-known sport volunteer, Leading the Way includes excerpts from athletes and coaches sharing their own personal experiences. It joins a range of other tools developed by CAAWS to help organizations learn, understand and eliminate LGBTphobia in sport, including a dedicated website at www.caaws-homophobiainsport.ca and a workshop series that is delivered to sport leaders across Canada.
“This resource is a significant and positive step forward in ensuring coaches and athletes have tangible tools to build and foster inclusive sport environments,” says Jasmine Northcott, AthletesCAN executive director.
“Leading the Way will give coaches the confidence to address issues that may have seemed difficult or daunting in the past,” says Wayne Parro, Coaches of Canada executive director (a Department of the Coaching Association of Canada).
Leading the Way will be distributed to all national and provincial sport organizations and sport centres, and at major sport and coaching conferences across Canada. It is available for download from the CAAWS website: www.caaws-homophobiainsport.ca.
About the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS)
CAAWS is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating an equitable sport and physical activity system in which girls and women are actively engaged as participants and leaders. CAAWS provides a number of services, programs and resources to a variety of clients, including sport and physical activity organizations, teachers, coaches, athletes, volunteers, health professionals and recreation leaders. Since 1981, CAAWS has worked in close cooperation with government and non-government organizations on activities and initiatives that advocate for positive change for girls and women in sport and physical activity. For more information, please visit www.caaws.ca.