Borderland Pride and the Fort Frances Girls’ and Women’s Hockey Association (FFGWHA) are proud to welcome Brock McGillis to Fort Frances as part of the 2022 “Loud and Proud” Pride festival line-up.
Brock is the first openly gay men's professional hockey player. He has played professionally in both North America and Europe. Brock has emerged as a strong voice and leading activist for LGBTQ2 inclusion, especially in sport. Alongside international speaking engagement and producing educational content, Brock hosts a digital series with World of Wonder, the creator of RuPaul’s Drag Race. He has a degree in communications from Laurentian University and is certified in EDI by Cornell University. Brock was recognized as one of The Hockey News’ ‘100 Most Influential People in Hockey’ for 2022.
As part of this year’s Pride festival theme, organizers hope to provide educational, advocacy, and inspirational resources to members of the community who are LGBTQ2-identifying or want to be stronger allies for LGBTQ2 people or other equity-seeking groups.
Diversity and inclusion continues to be a challenge at all levels of hockey and other sports, where LGBTQ2 people are under-represented and face discrimination and other obstacles to their success. Many LGBTQ2 people leave sports early on as a result of the lack of diversity, homophobia and transphobia, or unwelcoming attitudes toward LGBTQ2 people. In hockey, these experiences have periodically included bullying and harassment.
During Brock’s keynote session, he will share his experience of being LGBTQ2-identifying, and take the audience on an emotional journey through his life growing up as a closeted, gay, professional athlete. Brock will share the ways he empowered himself and tangible ways other LGBTQ2 people can do the same. Through storytelling and sharing his experiences, Brock aims to inspire his audience to be shift-makers and to use their influence to positively impact our community, home life, schools, or workplaces.
This special event in Fort Frances is open to the public and is free to attend. It takes place on Monday, June 6 starting at 7 PM in the auditorium at the Memorial Sports Centre. A Facebook event page is available at www.borderlandpride.org/brock.
Borderland Pride wishes to thank their event partner, the FFGWHA, as well as the Bayview Motel for making this special event possible. The full schedule of Pride 2022 events is available online at www.borderlandpride.org/2022.
In 2022, Canada’s women’s hockey team had seven out athletes – the most of any Olympic team in history.
In 2021, Luke Prokop, a Nashville Predators defenseman, made hockey history by becoming the first player under contract to an NHL team to come out as gay.
A 2017 study estimated the percentage of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, or transgender as 4.5%.
According to The Hockey News, pro hockey players don't come out "because barriers to acceptance prevent any player who isn’t heterosexual from feeling safe revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity. The number of actual non-heterosexual players in men’s hockey is also likely disproportionately lower than that of the general population because queer-identifying players tend to leave the game early in life.” At the time of this article, in March 2021, there were no out NHL players.
Related Resources and Links on Diversity and LGBTQ2 Inclusion in Sports/Hockey:
Brock McGillis (Brock’s mission is “To create equality regardless of sexuality, gender or race while focusing on the language we use and how we can shift it to become more inclusive. To educate LGBTQ+ people on loving themselves and developing strategies on how they can best accept themselves. To speak to all people across and guide them to becoming anti homophobia while emphasizing a shift in their language and treating others with respect. To be a resource for anyone that is struggling.”)
The You Can Play Project (“You Can Play works to ensure the safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans. We achieve this by creating a community of allies that is able to foster a true sense of belonging.”)
The Hockey Diversity Alliance (“We are committed to inspire a new and diverse generation of hockey players and fans. … We strive to create sustainable change on all levels of hockey. At the top, we will educate and encourage accountability from our leagues and leaders. At the grassroots level, we will work to ensure hockey is accessible to anyone who loves the game.”)
Akim Aliu (“Akim has been is a leader in the drive for change within the Hockey community, and society as a whole, fighting for racial equality, diversity and for increased accessibility for BIPOC youth into sports, particularly the game of hockey. He has been recognized by Maclean’s magazine as being one of the Top 50 most influential Canadians in 2020 and has also dawned the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in 2021.”)
Douglas W. Judson (he/him/his)
Contact for Brock McGillis