Looking Back On An Incredible Year

Spread the word

Happy new year! Before getting into what has made this past year so special, we want to first say thank you to all of the athletes, coaches, and fans who have helped to make 2016 one of the most monumental years for You Can Play yet. Some of those momentous moves include:   

• creating regional boards across North America to put key people in positions to help drive You Can Play initiatives forward,
• leading the way for more leagues to officially partner with You Can Play, such as U.S. Lacrosse and Major League Lacrosse that joined in April,
• partnering with the Canadian Football League to create the first pro league apparel line benefitting an LGBTQ organization 365 days a year,
• consulting with the NWHL on gender policy, a first that could be a blueprint for other leagues to seek consulting on similar policies.

We couldn’t be more proud of the work that our team has been able to perform, and encouraged by the support we have seen from our fans, the players and staff in the leagues we partner with, students and faculty of hundreds of schools, the professionals who make up our boards across each of our regions, our corporate partners who are willing to take a stand for what they believe in, and especially all of our core supporters like you who make this work possible. We can assure you that it’s only going to get better from here with more league partnership initiatives and work that will help to spread our message of respect. 
Exciting times ahead, and we can’t wait to share more soon — if you can play, you can play.

Glenn Witman
Co-founder, You Can Play Team


You Can Play being honored by Toronto Mayor John Tory while he announced June 16 as the official “You Can Play Day” in Toronto.
You Can Play being honored by Toronto Mayor John Tory while he
announced June 16 as the official “You Can Play Day” in Toronto.


2016 Headline Highlights

Looking back on 2016, here are some of the memorable feature stories that helped drive the global discussion of equality in sports forward.

  • You Can Play was featured in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and CBS Sports after helping U. of Maine basketball show support for the LGBTQ community in a game at Duke in North Carolina.
  • You Can Play’s involvement with the first ever transgender professional hockey player was featured by the New York Times, and again when You Can Play helped to craft the league’s new gender policy. That story was also covered in ESPN and CBC Canada.
  • Yahoo! Sports and Vice Sports covered the You Can Play CFL GreyCup party, the first ever pro-league sponsored LGBTQ playoff party.
  • Olympic speed skater and You Can Play ambassador Anastasia Bucsis was profiled by CBC Canada, and the newest VP of the You Can Play team, Chris Mosier, was named 2016 person of the year by Outsports.
  • The Washington Capitols support of LGBTQ fans with You Can Play t-shirts and marching in the D.C. pride parade was featured by the Washington Post.


You Can Play Teammate Spotlight:
David Palumbo, Executive Board Member

The You Can Play team is lucky to have a diverse and influential board, such as executive board member David Palumbo in Toronto. David has been a tremendous force in creating and supporting You Can Play initiatives, such as coordinating the Baker & McKenzie You Can Play CFL launch in June, as well as the historic CFL You Can Play Grey Cup Party. 

This fall, David was named as one of the 2016 Leading 100 LGBT Executives by the Financial Times and OUTstanding, ranking him No. 18 globally for his numerous efforts to achieve positive change inside and outside the workplace. Honorees are selected based on their efforts to promote LGBT inclusion, their recent business achievements and their seniority and influence in their business.

David Palumbo, You Can Play Executive Board Member
From left to right: Clare Hutchinson (CFL),
David Palumbo, Jill Svensson (You Can Play)

Services You Can Play Provides

Education & Resources:

• You Can Play trainings for athletes, coaches, and organizational staff
• Speaking events about diversity and LGBTQ inclusion
• Curriculum development and customized “Playbooks”

Programs & Events:

• You Can Play Nights at professional, collegiate, and community games
• Professional partnership programs, such as the Hi-Five Initiative
• International and regional events, such as Pride parades

Communications & Media:

• You Can Play videos posted on our website and social media
• Crisis communications management
• Media talking points for leagues and partners

Ready to get involved?

There are many ways that you can get involved to help spread the You Can Play message further, such as:

• Share messages of respect on social media by using #YouCanPlay and tagging @YouCanPlayTeam
• Donate or plan a fundraiser or campaign to support You Can Play events and programs
• Host a speaking event, training, or panel
• Represent You Can Play at your Pride event
• Create and share your You Can Play video
• Promote inclusive policies and programs that support

If you are interested in being part of a You Can Play regional board, or seeking information on ways that You Can Play might partner with your team, league, or school, then you can email the team at info@youcanplayproject.org.




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