The sweet reason this NHL star has a rainbow-striped hockey stick.

Being a young gay athlete can be rough. I know because I was one.

I had fun playing basketball in high school, but it was exhausting — on and off the court. Hearing homophobic language tossed around the locker room like one of the basketballs was part of the daily grind. And it was painful thinking, would any of my teammates accept me for who I am?

Clearly, I'm not the only one who felt that way.


Persisting homophobic attitudes in the sports world are a very real thing. But, at the same time, plenty of young athletes (I'd guess the silent majority even) would welcome an LGBTQ teammate — no questions asked.

That's why these rainbow-wrapped hockey sticks are so freaking cool.

Hockey players will soon be able to show their support for their LGBTQ teammates simply by wrapping Pride Tape (seen below) on their sticks. In doing so, they're showing those on and off the ice that they support and promote inclusion of LGBTQ players.

Photo via Pride Tape, used with permission.

Pride Tape — which is currently being funded through a Kickstarter campaign — was launched by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta in Canada, as well as the You Can Play Project, which promotes LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

The tape addresses a widespread problem. Fear of being bullied by teammates prevents many young queer athletes — an estimated 81% of gay males and 76% of lesbians — from coming out of the closet, according to an international report on homophobia released last year.

Dr. Kris Wells, who's heading the Pride Tape campaign, said homophobia in sports certainly exists in Canada too: "[Pride Tape is] a simple way to show your support for LGBTQ youth without actually even having to say any words," Wells told Welcometoterranova. "It can become a powerful statement."

Pride Tape has been a hit since it launched about a month ago, thanks in part to support from a star athlete.

Since the campaign for Pride Tape officially launched in December, the response has been "phenomenal," according to Wells. Every major Canadian TV network has agreed to air a commercial for the tape that features NHL player Andrew Ference free of charge. Ads spreading the word about the project have launched across Canada too.

"Some kids stop playing the game they love just because they’re gay," Ference says in the commercial. "Let’s show every player they’re welcome on the ice."

The Pride Tape campaign shot a commercial for their efforts with a little star power from Andrew Ference, a player on the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. Photo via Pride Tape, used with permission.

"People just said, 'Whatever we can do to support, count on us,'" Wells explained of the campaign's success thus far.

The campaign's aiming to raise a bit more than $39,000, which would allow it to provide 10,000 rolls of tape for free "to local teams across Canada and beyond," according to a press release. As of Friday afternoon, it's raised over $24,000.

Right now, the tape isn't quite ready to be sold on the market. But its creators hope that will change soon.

Once the initial Kickstarter campaign wraps (get it?), the hope is that interest in the tape will allow more to be manufactured and sold, with profits directly benefitting LGBTQ youth initiatives at the institute and the You Can Play Project.

Photo via Pride Tape, used with permission.

"The more that we're talking about [LGBTQ inclusion] in the locker room, in the stands, in our community rinks, and in our schools, the better," Wells says. "Because that's what's going to lead to a change in attitudes."

As far as long-term plans, the goal is to expand Pride Tape products for athlete use in other sports as well.

Pride Tape is a simple, colorful concept that could make a big difference to many young people.

I know high school me would have loved to see any sign that one of my teammates had my back. So I'm guessing plenty of kids will be thrilled to spot a rainbow-striped hockey stick out in the ice rink soon.

Support the Pride Tape Kickstarter here.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

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True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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