Fierce 2SLGBTQ+ and Gender Equity Advocate in Sport, Jennifer Birch-Jones, Retires
Canadian Women & Sport and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) celebrate Jennifer Birch-Jones as she heads into retirement after a long and successful career advocating for and advancing 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion in sport. Birch-Jones’ passion for educating stakeholders throughout the sport system on 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion has been vital to the drive to advance equity and inclusion for all Canadians in sport.
Birch-Jones has been instrumental in setting the foundation for Canadian Women & Sport and CCES’s continued work to advance 2SLGBTQI+ inclusion in sport, including supporting the development of the CCES’s Creating Inclusive Environments for Trans Participants in Canadian Sport: Guidance for Sport Organizations in 2016 and spearheading the Canadian Women & Sport’s Leading the Way resource and workshops. As a result of Birch-Jones’ efforts, thousands of sport leaders have a greater understanding of how to create sport experiences that are safer, more welcoming and more inclusive for 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians. This work was possible thanks to the contributions and support of many athletes with lived experience, partners and allies.
“Jennifer’s impact on the sport system has been immeasurable,” says Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO, Canadian Women & Sport. “We are committed to ensuring that this work continues with the same commitment and passion as Jennifer demonstrated at every step.”
“The CCES is grateful to Jennifer for her knowledge and guidance over the years as we have worked to make sport fair, safe and open to all Canadians,” says Paul Melia, President and CEO, CCES. “We are pleased to carry on this important work in partnership with Canadian Women & Sport.”
What’s Next for 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusion in Sport
While progress has been made towards greater 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion in sport, there is still much work to be done. Canadian Women & Sport and CCES’s efforts to advance inclusion for 2SLGBTQ+ participants continue, notably including two active projects:
Canadian Women & Sport, in partnership with CCES, is developing greater understanding of the experiences of nonbinary people in sport to support the organization to move “Beyond the Binary” in its efforts to expand inclusion for women and girls. In doing so, the organization aims to become more inclusive of people whose gender identity is not aligned with the binary categories of man or woman, or whose identity is fluid. Canadian Women & Sport is grateful for the guidance of Christine Hsu and the Challenge Accepted team in this capacity-building initiative.
The CCES is leading an important project to update the Creating Inclusive Environments for Trans Participants in Canadian Sport: Guidance for Sport Organizations resource document, initially published in 2016. To that end, the organization is spearheading an extensive data collection and review process to integrate the latest research and insight on gender diversity in sport. This will serve as the foundation for future education activities to promote broad-based understanding of the guidance and application of the best practices.
“We truly believe that Jennifer has helped us to build a very solid foundation for this important and complex work,” says Karri Dawson, Senior Director Quality Sport, CCES. We look forward to consulting with various stakeholders to ensure that the revised policy guidance and supporting resources respect human rights, align with our shared values and reflect current research.”
The CCES and Canadian Women & Sport are thankful for the support of Sport Canada to make these initiatives possible.
For more information:
Alex Grey | Director, Marketing and Communications, Canadian Women & Sport, firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Cumming | Manger Communications, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, email@example.com