3 REASONS TO CHOOSE INCLUSION
Team Canada is at the heart of the global sport inclusion movement. So, if you’re reading this, it means you are the movement.
It’s been four years since the Canadian Olympic Committee took important steps toward creating safer and more inclusive sport environments. First, the organization revised the language in its anti-discrimination articles to make our sport family more inclusive. Then, the #OneTeam program and the resources surrounding it were launched. Since then, it’s clear we’ve shifted the landscape — together.
“The more people know, the less they are afraid, and the more ‘normal’ it becomes,” encourages #OneTeam ambassador Vincent Lavoie. “The only way to create positive change is through visibility and representation.”
Indeed, we’ve come a long way. And with this comes a certain momentum which must be carried if we are to continue making sport better.
“It’s never too late to change your attitude or contribute to changing the culture around you,” says #OneTeam Ambassador Una Lounder.
With that in mind, here are three reasons to be inclusion champions along our Olympic journey together.
1. IT MAKES TEAM CANADA STRONGER
For any Games, it’s our goal to create the best environment possible for the optimal performance. But what about every day in between? What is the best environment possible for optimal living and training? How can it be open, supportive and safe? It starts with inclusion. When we are comfortable, accepted and celebrated for who we are — no matter who we are — it enables us to become better versions of ourselves.
In sport and in life, is that not the ultimate goal?
This decision to let inclusion lead the make-up of Team Canada is a big reason why we are stronger and more prepared when it comes time to perform. So, if you choose inclusion to lead your day-to-day, here are some resources to help.
2. IT CREATES OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD
The strong need for inclusion in high-performance sport was a sensitive conversation during and following Sochi 2014. In response, Team Canada took some important action, and the result has put us at the centre of positive change for this movement.
“The steps toward diversity and inclusion … following Sochi have changed my life,” said #OneTeam Ambassador John Fennell. “I am so proud to be part of a movement that has left an impact on so many people.”
The impact of our collective push for inclusion is real. And with this comes honest opportunity to own our identity as global leaders and continue finding new ways to progress. Here are some initiatives in place:
- You Can Play
A key sport partnership with the premier organization for LGBTQ equality in sport, enabling all of us to take a stand.
Canada’s only national charity promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights has become an important part of our Olympic family. Through their research, education, and community engagement we can promote equality in sport.
Team Canada has been publicly involved for the past five years, further uniting amateur and professional sport under this important cause. Three parades remain this summer for any Team Canada member to register and participate: Montreal, August 19th; Ottawa, Aug. 26th; Calgary, September 2nd.
- Pride House International
At PyeongChang 2018, Canada Olympic House (COH) alongside the Korean Sexual Minority and Rights Centre, became a home to Pride House International, further advancing our Team as a leader for inclusion in sport. COH is a key Games-time environment for Team Canada to unite as an open, accepting and diverse family.
Over the course of one year, this resource has shown that your stories and leading by example is a big part of education and learning. But most importantly, it leads to real change.
- Out on the Fields
This is the largest and the first international study conducted into homophobia in sport. It takes an in-depth look at the experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, including athletes, in sporting culture.
3. YOU CAN CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES
Beyond the broadcast window of the Olympic Games — the impact we have on our community is sometimes underrated, or under-discussed. As international role models, it’s important we don’t lose sight of how important this influence is; how much it means to our legacy and how much it means to those needing to feel included.
To be great at what we do, we must create the best environment to perform. When we do this, we lead by example just doing our thing as an inclusive team. But for us, it’s more than that. It’s an actual advantage. It’s about living, training and performing in a fully accepting open and safe environment — for everyone.
The Maple Leaf we wear stands for this, and it makes us stronger. Together, we have the chance to make a difference.