You Can Play Project Executive Director Wade Davis Visits UVM Athletics
Story Courtesy UVMAthletics.com
BURLINGTON, Vt. - A day after helping UMass men's basketball player Derrick Gordon come out as the first openly gay student-athlete in Division I men's college basketball, Wade Davis, the Executive Director for the You Can Play Project, visited the University of Vermont and spoke with coaches, staff members and student-athletes on LGBT issues.
The You Can Play organization seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete's skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.
Davis directed a panel of two current UVM student-athletes as well as Babson College student-athlete Nick Kleidon during the day and in an evening session he spoke with more Vermont student-athletes.
"We were so fortunate to have Wade Davis speak with our staff and student-athletes. His message and expertise around LGBT inclusion in sport was presented with sincerity, passion and humor that fully resonated with our Vermont community," stated Cathy Rahill, UVM's Student-Athlete Development Coordinator. "It was also inspiring to see our Vermont student-athletes, Valerie Moyer and Theresa Emery, participate as leaders in such important dialogue."
"Working with Wade Davis and Nick was beyond anything I expected," said Valerie Moyer, a member of the Vermont track and field team and a LGBT Ally on campus. "I knew about Wade's personal experience of being gay in one the most high profile, hyper-masculine sports in the U.S. But on top of that, I really appreciated his knowledge level and interest in all aspects of sexuality and gender identity. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn were inspiring."
"Working with Wade Davis was one of the most rewarding experiences of my athletic career. Wade was extremely inviting and open which allowed me to feel comfortable sharing my own experiences. I think he addressed sensitive issues in a fun, yet informative way," added Theresa Emery, a member of the UVM field hockey team and chair of UVM's Generation Out Athlete Team (GOAT).
"It was great to see how passionate he is about his work. He made the whole experience comfortable and memorable. He did a great job at getting the audience involved, which made it easier to open up. Working with Wade opened my eyes to many issues that I had not previously considered, such as sexism being a problem within athletics," continued Emery.
You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. Last year the America East Conference became the first Division I conference to partner with the You Can Play Project.