Today, we kick off a Pride month like we’ve never seen before. We are proud today and every day to be a part of the LGBTQI+ community, and also heartbroken as we mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many other innocent black lives murdered. Addressing systemic racism and white supremacy is work that allies must take on proactively, rather than leaving to black and POC people who have no choice but to be faced with these forces every moment of every day.
We encourage you to join us in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement by donating to racial justice organizations, bail funds and mutual aid funds if you are able, by learning from organizations that provide tools on allyship, by speaking up when and where you hear racism, by educating yourself on the history of racial justice and the intersectional struggles of black LGBTQI+ people and LGBTQI+ people of color, including the trailblazers of Pride like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, and by trusting, listening to and lifting up voices of color.
Below are just a few ways we’re kicking off June today. Please stay tuned to our website and social media throughout the month for news, ways to fight for the equality and justice, and ways we can stay connected and celebrate one another.
We are honored to have Olympic champion figure skater Brian Boitano join us today as our newest Athlete Ally Pro Ambassador! Brian is the 1988 Olympic champion, the 1986 and 1988 World Champion, and the 1985–1988 U.S. National Champion. Check out a special video message from Brian here.
We’re also launching our Virtual Playing for Pride today! Major League Soccer player Austin da Luz started Playing for Pride a few years back in response to North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law. He wanted to find a way to mobilize his fellow soccer players to stand with the LGBTQI+ community, and ended up bringing together over 100 players to donate in support of Athlete Ally’s education, policy and advocacy work. In the years since, Playing for Pride has mobilized athletes across sports, teams, leagues, sport reporters and fans to support LGBTQI+ inclusion in and through sport.
This year, we’re doing things a little differently. Throughout the month, our social media feed will be sharing videos from pro athletes — including Women’s World Cup champion Becky Sauerbrunn, Mexico National team player Janelly Farias, and Collin Martin, the only currently out gay male pro soccer player in the U.S. — speaking out about why LGBTQI+ inclusion in sport matters, what Pride means to them, and why the work of Athlete Ally is more critical now than ever. Many athletes and teams will also be raffling off signed jerseys and other gear to donors, so please be on the lookout for your favorites! Click below to join us in Playing for Pride!
Finally, we’d love to hear what #Pride means to you! Please post about why #LGBTQI+ inclusion in sport matters to you, and tag @AthleteAlly. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the month, and happy Pride!