Sask. teams in Montreal for Canadian Gay Curling Championship
'They can just be themselves' says founder of local LGBT league
Two teams from Saskatchewan are on the ice today in Montreal, trying to sweep their way to victory at the Canadian Gay Curling Championship.
Being gay in sport shouldn't matter.- Jason Evanochko, Prairie Lily Curling League president
They represent the Prairie Lily Curling League, now into its third year.
"It doesn't matter who you are, what you believe in, what kind of personality you have, we are welcoming and inclusive for absolutely anybody," said league president Jason Evanochko.
As Evanochko recalled, the league's roots were in a gay bonspiel in Edmonton. He'd put together a team and they were having so much fun that a logical question followed.
"Why doesn't this exist in Saskatoon?"
So they started Prairie Lily, the first and only LGBT curling league in Saskatchewan.
There's data out that suggests homophobia is still alive and well in in sports. A 2015 online survey found that 81 per cent of respondents had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports. Plus, an overwhelming majority of gay men and lesbians had faced hurtful slurs, the survey found.
"Being gay in sport shouldn't matter. We're all out there with a common goal, and that's to win," said Evanochko.
But he said that's why Prairie Lily exists — so that LGBT curlers "are not going to have any uncomfortable looks, or any uncomfortable questions. They can just be themselves and be happy."
In fact, Evanochko said, they've had so much fun and success on the ice they may expand to new fields of play in the future.
"Maybe there is a need for [a gay league for] badminton or tennis or volleyball?"
with files from Saskatoon Morning