Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast and the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No Holds Barred: Wade Davis of You Can Play Project 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Wade Davis, the executive director of the You Can Play Project.

You Can Play is, according to its web site, an organization "dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation." Its slogan is: "Gay athletes. Straight allies. Teaming up for respect."

The issues of respect and fairness for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) athletes are major ones being discussed in world sport, from the controversy over Russia's law against so-called "gay propaganda" passed shortly before the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, to the debate in the combat sports involving transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox and gay boxer Orlando Cruz. These are issues we addressed with Wade Davis. We spoke with him by phone Monday.

"One of the first things that we try to do at You Can Play is create a conversation," he said. "Whether you're someone who is against the idea of playing with an LGBT person or you're for it, our goal is to approach it from the perspective that we don't believe that people are inherently homophobic."

He continued, "Now there are definitely some who are, but we don't believe that the majority of people are, so we're willing to say, 'Hey, tell me what your beliefs are. I'll tell you mine. There is no right or wrong, but our goal is to really have a conversation.' If there is at least the option of having a conversation, then there is a chance that you're looking to be educated and receive some information that could potentially make you more or less likely to engage with helping to create a space for an LGBT person to play sports. We don't believe that telling someone what they believe is right or wrong helps to facilitate a conversation."

We discussed how to approach both sports organizations and fans on these issues, combat sports and views of what masculinity means, what people can do to fight homophobia and transphobia, and much more.

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