Sunday, May 27, 2012

Outsport Toronto runs workshop for Toronto District School Board

Earlier this month, for the Toronto District School Board's FUTURES Conference on Equity and Inclusive Education, FGG member organization ran a seminar entitled "Making It Better Now: Ending Homophobia and Transphobia in School Athletics and Physical Education", and produced an introductory video.

Three quarters of LGBTQ students feel unsafe in at least
one place at school, with PE change rooms rated as the
most unsafe. Half of straight students agree. (EGALE
Canada, 2009).

OutSport Toronto, in cooperation with educators from the
TDSB and the University of Waterloo, have put together a
workshop that will leverage our collective insights on the
importance of an inclusive physical education and
athletics programme, sharing our own experiences, and
providing tactics and strategies that can be deployed in
schools immediately.

The benefits of physical education are undisputed. A
physical education program - including intramurals and
varsity athletics - builds healthy students, and builds
long lasting character traits such as teamwork,
dedication, perseverance, and confidence. These
benefits must be afforded to all students, yet the fact is
many students feel unsafe from the gymnasium, to the
track, to the field, to the PE change room.
The members of OutSport Toronto have experienced
the homophobia and exclusion of high school athletics,
the inclusiveness of LGBTQ sports associations, and
the joy of being part of the team . We know how
important it is to eradicate homophobia - the last
bastion of acceptable discriminatory language - from
our schools’ athletics and physical education
programmes, and create an environment where
everyone can get out and play and be safe.

Relevant research will include the 2009 EGALE study.
This workshop will illustrate the negative effects of
homophobia and transphobia, particularly in physical
education and athletics, and provide practical ideas to
help reduce them. Methods to be discussed will include
(but not limited to) awareness campaigns, training for
school personnel in creating safe and welcoming
spaces within physical education and athletics
programmes, leveraging GSAs and other clubs to sway
sentiment and encourage positive attitudes toward
LGBT and other diverse groups, and offering effective
support for LGBT students participating in physical
education and athletics. Participants will be involved in
determining the most effective follow-up activities to
encourage lasting positive change from this workshop.

OutSport Toronto is an incorporated not-for-profit
amateur athletic association. Our mission is to support
the amateur LGBT sports community through
promotion of sports, facilitation of networking and
education, and effectively advocating to external
stakeholders. Please visit
for more information.

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