For Immediate Release: March 30, 2022
Contact: Eleanor Naiman, [email protected]
Ohio Athletes, LGBTQ+ Advocates Launch Campaign to Change the Narrative about Support for Transgender Youth Athletics
Ohioans from across the state share their support for the transgender community,
affirming that #OhioCanPlay
COLUMBUS, Ohio (March 30, 2021) – This year on Transgender Day of Visibility, Equality Ohio and more than 40 allies from across the state are launching #OhioCanPlay, a new campaign supporting transgender and non-binary youth in Ohio athletics. In honor of this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration of the contributions and leadership of the transgender community, Equality Ohio’s campaign serves as a visual petition, elevating positive messages about the importance of inclusion in sports.
Through the campaign, LGBTQ+ advocates and community members want to change the narrative about transgender youth in athletics in Ohio. #OhioCanPlay features video messages from leading LGBTQ+ advocates and Ohio athletes demonstrating support for transgender youth and affirming that every child should have the opportunity to play.
“Being a part of something bigger than yourself in sports changes you. It builds character, camaraderie, and resilience that you don’t learn in a classroom,” said Avery Anderson, a nurse and former student-athlete at Kenyon College. “Every child deserves a chance to be a part of a team where they feel they belong. Transgender kids deserve this chance, too.”
The campaign, which includes a new documentary short film about one family’s experience navigating school sports with a transgender child, centers the voices of LGBTQ+ athletes and young people as well as community members and allies.
“We want all youth to be able to have fun with their friends, and that is why it’s so important that LGBTQ youth — especially trans and nonbinary youth — are allowed to play sports with their friends. In the state of Ohio, we have to protect them. Please, stand with our youth. Stand with our trans youth and let them know they can play on your team,” said Gio Santiago, an LGBTQ+ youth sports director and founder of META Center Inc, a non-profit dedicated to educating, motivating and inspiring transgender youth in need of resources and support.
A living petition that invites allies and advocates to upload their own video messages, the #OhioCanPlay campaign confronts false narratives about transgender youth athletes by encouraging participants to reflect on how youth sports foster confidence, leadership and joy in young people regardless of athletic ability or level of play.
“Everyone in Ohio sports should be able to play, no matter who they are, and that includes transgender and nonbinary youth. All Ohio kids should be able to play sports and no one should be excluded for who they are,” said Kathryn Poe, Public Policy and Communications Organizer at Equality Ohio.
Equality Ohio is inviting LGBTQ+ advocates, athletes and allies with Ohio ties to submit their own messages of support on the #OhioCanPlay campaign website now through summer.
About Equality Ohio
Equality Ohio is a statewide organization advancing the rights and protecting the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Ohioans. Equality Ohio identifies and transforms systems and institutions so LGBTQ+ Ohioans can fully access legal and lived equality in pursuit of an Ohio where people are welcome, affirmed and flourishing. Learn more: www.equalityohio.org.