Led by Cassidy Sadowski ’22 and Liberty Stam ’22, the Trevor Project looks to provide inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community in athletics. More specifically, the Trevor Project is a way for those that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community to express their opinions, and have their voices heard.
Last year, the Trevor Project worked alongside Puma to focus on making those part of the LGBTQIA+ community feel included in all athletics throughout the school, according to Athletic Director, Lisa Joel.
“[The Trevor Project] partnered with Puma, the athletic apparel company, last year in an initiative called ReformTheLockerRoom. So, these organizations came together to focus on inclusivity in athletic spaces. I was made aware of this partnership by a colleague in the development office who has a friend that works for Puma and they let us know that this is something Puma is working on. One thing led to the next and it was brought to my attention that Andover Athletics is paying really close attention to matters of inclusivity in athletic spaces, so that is a bit about how this ball got rolling, that was sort of the first seed,” said Joel.
According to Silvia Ng ’23, the Trevor Project looks to convey the voices of those that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Ng said, “At Andover, we [discuss] a lot about racism, but queer athletes aren’t addressed as much. So I think collaborating with The Trevor Project is a really good way to address that. And I just feel like, as a queer athlete myself, our voices aren’t heard loudly. The school collaborating with The Trevor Project is a really good first step to giving us a voice.”
According to Joel, the first step of the Trevor Project was getting in contact with LGBTQIA+ students, and hearing their voices and opinions.
“So what [Puma] said to us that would be helpful was getting feedback from schools. At the time when I met this summer with leading folks from the Trevor Project and Puma, they asked if I could help them speak to some students who identify as LGBTQIA+ as an initial step because they wanted to do a focus group. That happened last week with a group of our students and those were the signs you probably saw around and about. What we agreed would be a great first step is if our students who wanted to be involved could have a private space with the folks as Puma and the Trevor Project to talk about the issues they wanted to. Now, what we want to do is keep moving forward.”
Co-Organizer of The Trevor Project, Liberty Stam ’22, hopes that it will create recognition for LGBTQIA+ athletes from all student-athletes.
Stam said, “I’m hoping that this collaboration will spark more conversations amongst athletic teams and all student-athletes here at Andover about creating truly inclusive spaces. I hope that Andover Athletics and Andover, in general, continues to practice inclusivity as much as it preaches.”
Not only will the Trevor Project teach athletes about including LGBTQIA+ athletes, but according to Ng, it will also teach coaches about including people of all sexualities and genders in their sport.
“I think it’ll definitely make Andover Athletics a lot more inclusive of sexuality and gender. I know that coaches are not intentionally trying to exclude people… but it’s the little things that coaches don’t notice but students do notice. And I think The Trevor Project will help coaches recognize what those little things are,” said Ng.
Joel hopes that one day, Andover can be a leader for all schools, displaying inclusion in athletics to all genders and sexualities.
Joel said, “My biggest hope is that we are the school that other schools including at the collegiate level are looking for guidance around matters of inclusivity. If we were to talk about the complexity of a gender binary in sports. We have boys and girls teams, but certainly all-gender teams. We were one of the first secondary schools to call what we traditionally call co-ed teams, all-gender teams. Being able to say out loud that our teams are all-gendered matters. It pushes other schools to think about even the naming of things makes a difference.”