Sportsnet Coverage: Celebrating LGBTQ athletes and inclusion

Ottawa Senators sticks are shown taped with Pride Tape on Hockey is for Everyone Night on Feb. 12, 2019. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Looking back at some important profiles of LGBTQ athletes, and discussions about the push for greater inclusion across the sports world.

Gare Joyce: Prison to podium to Pride: The moving and complex story of Marc Leduc
After finding his purpose behind bars, Mark Leduc fought his way to Olympic glory and later, came out publicly and advocated around LGBTQ issues. Remembering and re-examining a much misunderstood Canadian boxing great.
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Kristina Rutherford: Fearless on and off the ice, John Epping is just the star sport needs
John Epping would rather let his curling do the talking. But as the only openly gay star male athlete in major North American sports, he feels a responsibility to talk about his sexuality — and hopes his example will empower others.
Read more.

Proud Virtually: How Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis is celebrating Pride in 2020
Olympic speed skater turned broadcaster Anastasia Bucsis sat down with our Donnovan Bennett in Toronto’s Gay Village to discuss how she thinks we can grow from a virtual Pride and what her Olympic journey still teaches her today.
Watch below.

Adam Stanley: How Alena Sharp found her voice, success on the LPGA Tour
In her first years as a pro golfer, Alena Sharp wasn’t as comfortable being openly gay. But alongside her partner — and caddie — Sarah Bowman, she is embracing the role of LGBTQ athlete and ambassador.
Read more.

Sportsnet Presents: Toronto Gay Hockey Association making a statement
Get an in-depth look at the world’s largest gay-friendly hockey league.
Watch below.

Sonny Sachdeva: Outsports founders on creating space for LGBTQ voices in sports media has long been the leading voice on the sports world’s engagement with the LGBTQ community. But its founders are most proud of the bridges they built and the personal stories they’ve been able to tell.
Read more.

Tape to Tape: Being Bisexual in Hockey
Zach Sullivan, a 25-year-old defenceman in England’s top hockey league, joins the pod. He is the first active pro hockey player to come out as bisexual. The Englishman talks about his decision to go public, how that was received, and growing up as a hockey-mad kid in a country where other sports get the headlines.
Listen here.

In Conversation with Ron MacLean: Brock McGillis, Dr. Cheryl MacDonald discuss LGBTQ issues in hockey
On this episode of In Conversation, Ron MacLean is joined by Brock McGillis and Dr. Cheryl MacDonald to discuss LGBTQ issues in hockey and sports.
Watch below, or on Sportsnet’s YouTube page.

Donnovan Bennett: Roundtable: What it’s like to be an openly gay athlete
Three leaders of the LGBTQ community sit with Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett to discuss the triumphs, struggles and future of openly gay athletes.
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Tara Slone: ‘It’s me being me’: Harrison Browne on coming out as transgender
Tara Slone sits down with Harrison Browne to talk about being a role model for transgender athletes and his decision to put his transition on hold in order to continue playing the game.
Watch below.

Sports on Pause: The intersection of Pride and the pandemic
The Notso Amazon Softball League was founded in 1983 to provide recreational softball for lesbians, bisexual women, queer women, queer-allied women and trans people of all skill levels. The not-for-profit organization was one of the first rec leagues in Toronto to cancel its season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Laura Couch is the league’s Vice President. She joins Richard and Donnovan to talk about the league’s history, growth, sponsorships and the decision to cancel the season.
Listen here.

Proud Virtually: How Olympic champion Eric Radford is celebrating Pride in 2020
Three-time Olympic medallist Eric Radford knows Pride in 2020 will look very different than in previous years. The star figure skater caught up with our Donnovan Bennett to discuss his coming-out story and how he keeps inspiring the next generation of athletes.
Watch below.

David Singh: Why Kurtis Gabriel is the ‘gold standard’ of LGBTQ allies in hockey
Kurtis Gabriel has scored game winners in the NHL. These days, he’s also receiving applause for his off-ice work helping those in the LGBTQ community.
Read more.

Peter Mendelsohn: John Amaechi speaks on what’s keeping NBA players in the closet
The first former NBA player to reveal he was gay, John Amaechi says the question of how NBA players want to be perceived is at the heart of why such a small number has come out publicly. But he can also see signs of progress and reason for hope.
Read more.

Donnovan Bennett: Jessica Platt explains why Hockey is for Everyone
In 2018, Jessica Platt, then of the CWHL’s Toronto Furies, came out as transgender. In this feature with Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett, Platt shares her journey and how the hockey community has rallied behind her.
Watch below.

Sportsnet Presents: How Chu, Ouellette forged a relationship out of rivalry
Although they have been competitors during much of their playing careers, Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette have maintained a relationship together away from the ice.
Watch below.

Sonny Sachdeva: How Pride Tape brought the rainbow, and the conversation, to the NHL
In the five years since Pride Tape was first dreamed up, it has become common in NHL rinks. But that buy-in was never the end goal — merely the start of a push for greater LGBTQ rights in hockey.
Read more.

Donnovan Bennett: Why the Maple Leafs got involved in the Pride Parade
Kyle Dubas represented the Leafs at the 2019 Toronto Pride Parade because he knows the importance of inclusion and human rights. He spoke with Donnovan Bennett about why the event is so important.
Watch below.

Proud Virtually: How pro hockey player Jessica Platt is celebrating Pride in 2020
Jessica Platt is a true leader in the fight for trans representation in sports. She is the first trans woman to play in the CWHL. She tells our Donnovan Bennett how she’s not stopping down from advocating for trans rights, even during the pandemic.
Watch below.

31 Thoughts: The Podcast: Rainbow Stripes
Andrea “Dre” Barone, who spent four years in the ECHL and is the first openly gay referee in hockey, joins the show to talk about why he came out publicly, his work with the NHL’s Kim Davis, stepping away from the game, overcoming challenges and the unintended discrimination he experienced.
Listen here.

Proud Virtually: How NCAA Swimmer Schuyler Bailar is celebrating Pride in 2020
Schuyler Bailar is the first openly trans NCAA Division I swimmer, and is inspiring the next generation of trans athletes. He chats with our Donnovan Bennett to discuss how Pride in 2020 is taking on a whole new meaning, virtually.
Watch below.

Sonny Sachdeva: Zach Sullivan’s story shows what happens when hockey embraces its own
In January, Manchester Storm defenceman Zach Sullivan made history with a single tweet, becoming the first active pro hockey player to come out as bisexual. He describes what led to that moment and the importance of the hockey community’s response.
Read more.

Proud Virtually: How WWE Star Sonya Deville is celebrating Pride in 2020
Sonya Deville is the first openly gay female wrestler in WWE. Pride has been an important part of her coming out story. This year, she tells our Donnovan Bennett how she plans to stay connected to her LGBTQ+ fans, as Pride goes virtual.
Watch more.

At the Letters: Scott MacArthur Talks Coming Out
One year after coming out publicly, Sportsnet 590 The FAN radio host Scott MacArthur joins Arden and Ben to talk Pride.
Listen here.

Donnovan Bennett: Hockey Pride: Browne and Platt on being transgender athletes
Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett sits down with Harrison Browne, the first publicly out transgender athlete in North American team sports, and Jessica Platt, a transgender player formerly with the CWHL’s Toronto Furies.
Watch below.

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