Well, this is heartening and necessary: the Colorado High School Activities Association has partnered with the You Can Play project to help raise awareness about bullying and homophobia in sports — which has long been, and continues to be, a big problem. The partnership aims to create a video series that showcases student athletes, coaches and administrators making statements of inclusion towards LGBT and bullied students.
The high school that makes the best video can win up to $2,500. From the project's website:
Teams, clubs, student organizations and entire schools are invited to submit videos talking about their teams, towns and why they welcome everyone based on heart, talent and skill without excluding students because of their race, religions, sexual orientation or gender identity, or other factors.
The first high school to enter is Denver East HS; you can tell that it's Real Athletes speaking because most of them are a bit awkward at delivering their lines — in the most heartwarming and tender way possible! Although it may seem like a micro-issue, it's an important message. As Travis Waldron argues at ThinkProgress:
'If you can help the team win, it doesn’t matter your sexuality' is an easily-digestible message — [but] it has the power to translate as so many messages in sports do into something more universal: that you, the student struggling to find yourself in ways that others maybe aren’t, are a positive piece of this team, of this school, of this community and this society no matter who or what you are. That is effective coming from the most prominent people in the country. It’s especially so when it comes from the most prominent of a student’s peers.
It's a message that easily maps onto the community at large: you're important and we accept you for who you are. In high school, athletes tend to be the most prominent figures; they also tend to be the most homophobic — at least in my experience and in pop culture (blame a culture that valorizes aggressive heterosexuality as the ultimate representation of masculinity). Encouraging those students to think and talk about the importance of inclusion — even if the incentive is for a cash prize, not just tolerance and understanding for its own sake — is important.
"Why A Denver High School's LGBT Equality Videos Matter" [ThinkProgress]