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Celebrating Our CommUNITY

Happy Pride!

At Girls on the Run, we believe in creating teams where our participants are included and feel a sense of belonging.  Our national LGBTQIA+ staff group would like to celebrate the strides that our organization has been making this year to include LGBTQIA+ youth, coaches and staff, especially our transgender and nonbinary participants and stakeholders. This year, Girls on the Run has created a training on gender inclusion, updated our gender inclusion policy and is working on a curriculum with more gender inclusive language.   

This work is essential at this moment. A recent CDC report states that last year, one out of five LGBT+ teens attempted suicide. We know that the work we are doing can help during this crisis; LGBTQ youth who feel high social support report attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who feel low or moderate social support. By creating teams with caring mentors that help kids truly belong, Girls on the Run can literally save lives.  

It is clear that our organization's work for LGBTQIA inclusion is taking place at a time when the kids in our community need it; The HRC just announced a state of emergency for LGBTQ people. At Girls on the Run, we teach participants to be "stand byers" when they see bullying taking place, and we know that this is a crucial time for our organization to be a stand byer for LGBTQ kids.  In a recent report, the HRC shared that only 20% of LGBTQ youth participate in sports programs with many citing fear or intimidation as a barrier for joining.  During this pride month we want to loudly and proudly say that we are committed to creating a space of belonging for LGBTQ kids, especially transgender girls and nonbinary kids.  

While things are hard for us right now in the LGBTQIA+ community, we also know how crucial it is to express queer joy and celebrate! Our LGBTQIA+ Staff members from the GOTRI Strength Through Connectedness group have shared how they are celebrating pride:

How Savannah (Girls on the Run Eastern Iowa) is celebrating: I love Pride celebrations and seeing them throughout June always fills me with so much joy. This year I am extremely excited to participate in my local Pride Festival and march in the parade with some of our GOTR coaches, participants, and families! I'm a big reader so I'll also be reading as many books with queer representation as I can. The most genuine way people can celebrate Pride Month is by doing real activism work. A post on social media might signify to others your acceptance, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't do much. If you can, donate money to queer causes or volunteer for queer organizations. Contact your representatives, especially if they are openly conservative when it comes to queer issues, like access to gender-affirming healthcare. Lastly, bring your kid to your local Pride Festival this month so they can see the wide range of beautiful queer people and their joy.

How Evelina (Girls on the Run Georgia) is celebrating: Though June is Pride Month (HAPPY PRIDE!), Atlanta's big pride celebration takes place in October around National Coming Out Day. Last year at ATL Pride, my partner and I got to ride on the float for LGBTQ folks in sports. We are really proud of the leagues that we play in. I am an Ultimate Frisbee player, and our national governing body invites players to compete in the division that feels most comfortable and safe based on their gender identity. My partner plays in the local women's and nonbinary soccer league. Being part of these sports spaces that explicitly, loudly state that queer people are included has allowed us to come to our teams as our best selves and experience the sense of belonging that sport uniquely gives us.

How Elizabeth (Girls on the Run Central Florida) is celebrating: Like Atlanta, Orlando hosts their big pride celebration in October. For us here in Central Florida, June is a time of remembrance and resistance. Monday, June 12 marked the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy. Throughout the month, the community comes together in a number of ways to celebrate inclusion while honoring the 49 lives that were taken. With events like the CommUNITY Rainbow Run, we demonstrate our resilience and take a stand against hate. 

This year, with the recent attacks on LGBTQIA+ rights in Florida, activism is especially important. The community I have found in this STC group empowers me to embody our GOTR values, reminding me that there is strength in our connectedness and that I have a responsibility to stand up for myself and others. As discriminatory policies continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of trans folks in particular, I'm showing up and speaking out where I can.

How Carrie (Girls on the Run Central Maryland) is celebrating: This year our 75% queer family is honoring Pride by marching with my father-in-law, Mayor Jack Heath in the Salisbury Maryland Pride Parade and joining in the festivities in Downtown Salisbury on June 24. We haven't attended a Pride celebration since before the pandemic. There's been a lot more transitioning and truth-telling in our family since then, so this is especially important to proudly participate with multiple generations. 

Although not exactly Pride month related, our Girls on the Run Central Maryland council was invited and tabled at last month's Howard County Public School's 2023 Rainbow Conference where we met so many families interested in how we are inclusive to their trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming children who want to be a part of the program! It was so refreshing to feel seen and show allyship as an organization serving the community and THE Community!


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We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

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