The CFL has done a ton to promote equality for LGBTQ fans and athletes over the last few years, especially through their partnership with You Can Play (including team training, community work, and an apparel line), and promoting inclusion is personally important to commissioner Jeffrey Orridge. The next step along those lines will be emphasizing inclusion on the league’s biggest stage of Grey Cup Week. On Nov. 25 – two days before the Grey Cup goes in Toronto – the CFL will be teaming up with You Can Play and other partners to throw the first official league-sanctioned Grey Cup Week party in support of the LGBTQ community. Here’s more information from their release:
On Friday night of Grey Cup Weekend, the CFL and You Can Play will throw a massive celebration in downtown Toronto. The party will be powered by leading global law firm, Baker & McKenzie, and Striker Sports Bar – Canada’s first LGBTQ sports bar which opened its doors to the public in September.
“The Grey Cup is Canada’s biggest annual party and everyone’s invited,” said Jeffrey L. Orridge, CFL Commissioner. “This event is going to be a whole lot of fun, and it’s another step we’re taking to ensure the CFL is a home for all fans. We’ve made a lot of progress on LGBTQ inclusion through our partnership with You Can Play, and we’re not done yet.”
“The CFL is leading the way in terms of being a welcoming and inclusive league, and we’re thrilled to work with them on this exciting event,” said Jillian Svensson, Vice President, Business Development & Operations, You Can Play Project. “We want to thank our great friends at Baker & McKenzie and Striker Sports Bar for coming to the table and partnering with us on this amazing opportunity.”
…“It’s amazing to see so many great organizations come together on yet another first for the LGBTQ community and pro sport,” said Kevin Coon, Baker & McKenzie Managing Partner. “Diversity continues to be a guiding principle for our firm and it’s great to be working with You Can Play and the CFL once again on such an important issue.”
“We opened our doors this past September and made it one of our goals to be a bridge between LGBTQ athletes and fans, and the pro-sport world. We are so proud to be doing something this big and meaningful with the CFL during the biggest annual sports party in Canada,” added Vince Silva, Striker Sports Bar, co-owner.
The party will be a ticketed event (tickets are $20, and are available here), and feature a midnight visit from the Grey Cup. Proceeds from a raffle will go towards the LGBTQ inclusion efforts You Can Play works to promote across Canada.
As with some of what You Can Play executive director Wade Davis Jr. spoke to 55-Yard Line about in June, it’s about being intentional and being specifically welcoming to all. It’s terrific to see that the CFL is continuing to work towards that, and this party is an excellent step in that direction.