Storm, Sounders FC, Kraken, Mariners, Reign and Seahawks to publicly support new WIAA Gender Diverse Toolkit and promote local LGBTQ+ local businesses
SEATTLE — The Seattle Storm, in conjunction with its fellow Seattle professional sports teams, announced today public support for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and its newly released gender-inclusive toolkit for anyone working or interacting with youth athletes across the state. The teams are also partnering with Intentionalist in a month-long effort to drive support for local LGBTQ+-owned small businesses.
“The Storm is proud to join forces with the collective Seattle professional sports community to promote gender-inclusivity in youth sports and to amplify local LGBTQ+ businesses,” said Alisha Valavanis, President and CEO of the Seattle Storm. “The Storm has a long history of advocacy work focused on Pride, and efforts to support diversity and inclusion, not only in sports, but in our community as a whole. We are eager to share WIAA’s gender diverse tool-kit and believe it is a critical piece in building a welcoming, safe and inclusive space in sports across Washington State.”
As fans return to stadiums and arenas, this June also sees the return of Pride-themed matches and games for in-season Seattle sports teams. The Storm will host its Pride Night, presented by AT&T, on Wednesday, June 22, when the squad led by Sue Bird takes on the Washington Mystics at Angel Of The Winds Arena, Everett (WA). The four-time WNBA champion will launch a Pride merchandise line on SeattleStormTeamShop.com with all proceeds directed to Lambda Legal—the largest national legal organization for the recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
Sounders FC and OL Reign both celebrate Pride matches on June 26, as the men’s and women’s soccer teams take on the Vancouver Whitecaps and Chicago Red Stars, respectively. Furthermore, each night from June 21 through June 27, Lumen Field and T-Mobile Park will light their distinctive rooftop arches in rainbow colors to celebrate Pride. The Mariners are planning to host a Pride game in August.
Designed by experts at WIAA and Gender Diversity—a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness and comprehension of the wide range of gender diversity—the Gender Diverse Sport Inclusivity Toolkit has been produced to address the national dialogue around transgender and nonbinary students, by teaching best practices and providing resources to assist in the development of supportive and non-discriminatory environments for young people.
All of Seattle’s professional sports teams—OL Reign, Seattle Kraken, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle Storm—have come together to show support for the toolkit and encourage its use in an effort to make WA state the most inclusive place for youth sports participation in the country. The Storm and its fellow teams stand behind the toolkit’s purpose in promoting inclusivity and building confidence. The free, digital toolkit is available for all youth coaches and K-12 teachers, administrators and parents in Washington, and can be accessed and downloaded at wiaa.com/dei.
“By providing an inclusive toolkit, coaches and administrators can take confident, educated steps towards creating the most safe and welcoming environment for all youth who are interested in participating in any sport at any level,” said WIAA Executive Director, Mick Hoffman. “The support and amplification of this resource from the Seattle pro sports community is essential in its impact and ensures that Washington state, as a whole, continues to be an inclusive place for all to play.”
In partnership with Aidan Key, Director of Gender Diversity, WIAA was the first state activities association to enact policy regarding transgender sport and activity participation. Successful policy and practices supporting the participation of all students, regardless of how they identify, was developed in 2007 by the WIAA office and written into the handbook for the 2007-2008 school year. The WIAA assessed and improved its Gender Identity Participation philosophy and eligibility rules in 2019 and continues to stand as one of 16 state athletic associations with fully inclusive policies that help facilitate the full participation of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students in high school athletics.
Part of the strategy to support the toolkit launch is a public service announcement recorded by each team involved, which will be shared on club platforms and used statewide by WIAA. The PSA can be downloaded for media use here and features the following representatives: Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC midfielder), Mick Hoffman (WIAA Executive Director), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm guard), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm guard), Karen Wilkins-Mickey (Seattle Seahawks, VP of Diversity Equity and Inclusion), Quinn (OL Reign midfielder), Mitch Haniger (Seattle Mariners right fielder), Scott Servais (Seattle Mariners Manager) and Dave Hunter (Seattle Kraken Pro Scout).
SPEND WITH PRIDE: SUPPORTING LGBTQ+-OWNED BUSINESS
In additional support of the LGBTQ+ community, Seattle’s professional sports teams—in collaboration with Intentionalist—are also partnering through the month of June to collectively promote and encourage the community to visit and buy from local LGBTQ+-owned small businesses in a program called “Spend with Pride.”
“LGBTQ-owned businesses have long provided an important space where the community can feel safe, seen, and connected,” said Laura Clise, Founder and CEO of Intentionalist. “We are excited to partner with Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, OL Reign, Seattle Mariners, and Seattle Kraken to encourage the community to ‘Spend with Pride’ and support LGBTQ-owned businesses during Pride Month and throughout the year.”
Fans of all teams will be encouraged to visit Intentionalist.com/Spend-With-Pride to access a list of local businesses taking part in the promotion. Throughout the month, fans can upload receipts from these businesses for chances to win jerseys or team prize packs from each of the participants. Each time a receipt is uploaded, fans can select which team prize pack they would like to enter to win.
Teams are encouraging this activity all month long, with the ultimate goal of reaching $25,000 in spending at these local LGBTQ+-owned businesses. If the goal is reached, all six teams will make a collective donation to support local nonprofit Gender Diversity.
—— StormBasketball.com ——