Around here, sports are important… especially hockey. It’s a big part of Saskatchewan, and nowhere is that famous Prairie Machismo more apparent than in the locker room. Or so I’ve been told.
Gay jokes run rampant, along with comments about the prissy nature of certain plays or players. It’s a tough place to feel welcome as a member of the LGBTT2QIA community. Any time your personhood is called into question, even if it’s done in jest (sometimes, especially so) it breaks you down. After a while, it can all become too much.
In an effort to curtail this type of anti-gay banter and sentiment, Patrick Burke (in honor of his late brother, Brandon Burke) began a campaign we now know as “You Can Play”. At it’s very heart all it states is that if you can play, you can play. Nothing else matters. It’s something we all needed to hear, and continue to have reinforced.
I encourage you to take a minute to read this article Burke wrote about his brother, the decision to come out, and how it affected all their lives. It is well worth the read, every encouraging paragraph: Never Forgotten, Patrick Burke Remembers his Pioneering Brother.
For more on You Can Play, check out these links:
So next time you’re about to make a joke about how gay someone or something is, stop and think. Just because others do it, doesn’t make it okay. In fact, it’s NOT okay – and people are finally starting to get it. The locker room should be a place of camaraderie, of solidarity… not of exclusion and loathing.