Proud to Play

Canadian LGBTQ+ athletes who made history

by Erin Silver

Profiles of Canadian LGBTQ+ athletes who made the playing field more inclusive — including 2020 Olympic Summer Games athletes

"This compilation of stories of suffering and success follow some of Canada's LGBTQ+ athletes as they strive to do their best and compete while also struggling with being true to themselves." — Canadian Teacher Magazine

The 2018 Winter Olympics marked a milestone for LGBTQ+ athletes. Thirteen athletes out of 3,000 competitors were out and proud — nearly double the number who felt comfortable sharing their sexuality four years earlier at the Sochi Games. Many athletes stay closeted for their entire sports careers, often unable to compete at their highest ability because of the shame and self-doubt they feel in not being true to their orientation or identity. But coming out still means facing harassment from fans, teammates, opponents, and the media, and a lack of sponsorship opportunities. While organizations like You Can Play, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Egale Canada have made progress in recent years in promoting inclusivity at the grassroots and elite sporting levels, there is still much work to be done to ensure all athletes feel safe being their authentic selves.

Athletes profiled include swimmer Mark Tewksbury, rhythmic gymnast Rose Cossar, professional hockey player Brock McGillis, speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, pairs figure skater Eric Radford, volleyball players Betty Baxter and Christopher Voth and hockey player Angela James.

Generously illustrated with photographs and given context by an overview of the history of LGBTQ+ athletes in Canada, this book will make all young sports enthusiasts and competitors proud to play.

About the Author

Erin Silver

ERIN SILVER has been writing professionally for almost 20 years. She has a degree in journalism and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, Today's Parent, The Globe and Mail and many other national magazines and newspapers. She has also blogged for several media outlets including Huffington Post. Erin's picture book, The Slap Shot, was named a finalist in the 2017 CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition. She also won the bronze medal in the Common Deer Press Uncommon Quest Contest. Erin lives in Toronto, Ontario.


"A powerful reminder that change is possible and the world of sports can indeed move forward to become more accepting and supportive of LGBTQ+ people."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Readers are shown examples of success and acceptance, proving that change is possible, even in spaces where there is a long history of prejudice and intolerance."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Sure to be a hit with young readers interested in sports, LGBTQ+ history (and the present), and biographies."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials


Rocky Mountain Book Awards
Recommended Read - TD Summer Reading Club
OLA Best Bets

Subjects (BISAC)


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