New York (October 15, 2018) – Today, Athlete Ally announced that the Playing for Pride campaign, which previously engaged over 100 professional soccer players in support of LGBTQ equality, will expand this year to invite additional sports and members of the athletic community at all levels to engage in the effort, and use their platforms to stand up and support LGBTQ equality. Athlete Ally is a nonprofit organization focused on fostering inclusive athletic environments and mobilizing the athletic community to champion LGBTQ equality. Playing for Pride was launched in June 2017 by North Carolina FC soccer player Austin da Luz to drive the global soccer community to support LGBTQ rights.
For Playing for Pride’s second season in 2018, da Luz partnered with Athlete Ally to mobilize over 100 professional soccer players—including members of Major League Soccer, the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team and the U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team—and their fans to publicly support LGBTQ rights through Playing for Pride. Players and fans donated to Playing for Pride for every game played, every assist and every goal scored. Players and fan groups then matched donations, raising $25,000 through the month of June to support Athlete Ally’s education, policy and advocacy work.
“I launched Playing for Pride because I wanted to tap into what I love most about soccer—how passion for the game translates to a passion for coming together as a community,” said Austin da Luz. “It’s been incredible to see how many of my fellow soccer players have stepped up for LGBTQ equality, and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve when we expand to other sports, and reach even more athletes and fans around the world.”
While in past years Playing for Pride took place solely during the month of June, it will now include an October campaign as well to honor LGBTQ History Month, and to draw upon fall athletics.
“The tremendous response we’ve seen to Playing for Pride proves what I’ve always known to be true: that athlete activism should not only be accepted, but expected,” said Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally. “By providing a platform for athletes, their teams, coaches, colleges and fans to celebrate their victories by celebrating the LGBTQ community, we’re also demonstrating that sport is meant to be supportive, inclusive and representative. For every player that openly stands up for LGBTQ equality, there are countless fans watching who are inspired to do the same. That’s how we change hearts and minds not just in sport, but in society as a whole.”