Photo by Juan Morales

Rams march in Toronto Pride Parade with You Can Play

By Jessica Pincente

TORONTO — Students and staff from across Ryerson University and the Department of Athletics and Recreation took to Yonge Street on Sunday afternoon, marching alongside the You Can Play Project and various sports organizations from across Canada in the annual Toronto Pride Parade. 

Members of Ryerson’s women’s soccer team and athletics staff, as well as Ryerson students and faculty, braved the heat to show their pride on Sunday for the second consecutive year. 

Ryerson walked as a part of the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to “ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity.”  The Rams were joined by several other sports organizations, including Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the Canadian Olympic Team, Tennis Canada, the Canadian Football League (CFL), and Golf Canada, among others. 

                                             Members of the Ryerson women's soccer team at the 2019 Pride Parade. Photo: Juan Morales/Ryerson Athletics

Ryerson’s You Can Play chapter was founded in 2017 by two RTA: Sport Media students, Sean Addis and Aaron Dutra. The pair have helped promote a culture of inclusion and respect in athletics and in the greater Ryerson community, hosting several Pride events in tandem with the department. 

Addis, who marched in the parade for the second straight year, says Ryerson’s commitment to inclusion is evident in their continued presence at the parade. 

“The opportunity for Ryerson athletes, members of athletics/recreation and students marching in solidarity with organizations such as You Can Play, Team Canada and MLSE is a symbol of the commitment of our community to create a culture of inclusion and diversity,” says Addis. 

                                                        RTA: Sport Media students march in the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto. Photo: Juan Morales/Ryerson Athletics

Joe Recupero, Director of the Sport Media program, also walked in the parade for the second consecutive year. Outside of Sunday’s Pride Parade, Recupero points to the 10th International Sport and Society conference, as well as the recent Pride Run as further evidence of the university’s commitment to inclusion and respect. 

“Pride Month 2019 has been such a huge success for both the RTA School of Media and Ryerson Athletics,” says Recupero. “Sport Media recently hosted the 10th International Sport and Society conference where LGBTQ+ issues were discussed throughout. Saturday saw the successful Pride Run event with more than 1700 participants.  RTA was represented as runners as well as organizers, and Ryerson Athletics was also one of the generous supporters and community sponsors of the Run.

“Athletics and Recreation and RTA should be proud of the work they do to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in sports and society.”

              Ryerson students and alumni as well as athletics and recreation staff members at the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto. Photo: Juan Morales/Ryerson Athletics

The student-led You Can Play/Pride initiative ties into Ryerson’s Department of Athletics and Recreation’s greater mission of championing a spirit of belonging, pride, and excellence. Addis says he believes the initiative will only continue to grow in the coming years.

“As with the three Pride Nights and the 519 Fundraiser held by the Rams women’s soccer team this past year,” continues Addis, “the Pride Parade is one part of a larger commitment by Ryerson and the Department of Athletics and Recreation to create a safe and welcoming environment to all students no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity.” 

Stay tuned for details about You Can Play Ryerson initiatives and events planned for the upcoming season. 

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