Challenging Casual Homophobia in Schools, Sports, and Society

In May, 2014, ACDE hosted Dr. Kristopher Wells of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, and Dr. Wade Davis of the You Can Play Project at a session that received equity funding from Congress.

Phrases like “That’s So Gay”, “No Homo”, “Dyke”, and “Faggot” have become so ubiquitous in schools and sporting communities that many have suggested it is the most commonly heard derogatory language, yet the least addressed by teachers, coaches, and parents. Others equate this kind of casual homophobia as a form of “micro-aggression”, leading to the continued isolation, alienation, harassment, and negative mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students and athletes.

In recent years, projects like have brought worldwide attention to the shocking use of casual homophobia in social media, and the You Can Play Project has revolutionized the professional sporting community by exposing the toxic nature of casual homophobia in locker rooms.  You Can Play has built brave new alliances to eradicate homophobia in sports. For example, the groundbreaking work of the You Can Play Project has forged innovative new partnerships with the National Hockey League Players’ Association, National Football League, and dozens of other professional and amateur sporting organizations to jointly take a united stand against homophobia and transphobia.

The presentation brought together two innovative and award-winning projects to discuss the need for (and success of) bold transformative initiatives to help educate the public about the shocking prevalence and damaging nature of casual homophobia in our schools, sporting communities, and larger society.

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