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Children's Nonfiction Lgbtq+

Proud to Play

Canadian LGBTQ+ athletes who made history

by (author) Erin Silver

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Jan 2021
LGBTQ+, Sports & Recreation, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 18
  • Grade: 5 to 12


The 2018 Winter Olympics marked a milestone for LGBTQ+ athletes. Thirteen athletes out of 3,000 competitors were out and proud — nearly double the number who felt comfortable sharing their sexuality four years earlier at the Sochi Games. Many athletes stay closeted for their entire sports careers, often unable to compete at their highest ability because of the shame and self-doubt they feel in not being true to their orientation or identity. But coming out still means facing harassment from fans, teammates, opponents, and the media, and a lack of sponsorship opportunities. While organizations like You Can Play, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Egale Canada have made progress in recent years in promoting inclusivity at the grassroots and elite sporting levels, there is still much work to be done to ensure all athletes feel safe being their authentic selves.

Athletes profiled include swimmer Mark Tewksbury, rhythmic gymnast Rose Cossar, professional hockey player Brock McGillis, speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, pairs figure skater Eric Radford, volleyball players Betty Baxter and Christopher Voth and hockey player Angela James.

Generously illustrated with photographs and given context by an overview of the history of LGBTQ+ athletes in Canada, this book will make all young sports enthusiasts and competitors proud to play.


About the author

Erin Silver is a children’s author and freelance writer with 20 years of professional industry experience. Her books include Just Watch Me, What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 and Proud to Play: Canadian LGBTQ+ Athletes Who Made History. Erin's work has appeared in everything from Good Housekeeping to the Globe and Mail, among others. She has a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a postgraduate journalism degree from Ryerson University and a bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto. Erin lives with her family in Toronto.


Erin Silver's profile page


  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Awards
  • Winner, OLA Best Bets
  • Commended, Recommended Read - TD Summer Reading Club

Editorial Reviews

"Readers are shown examples of success and acceptance, proving that change is possible, even in spaces where there is a long history of prejudice and intolerance."


CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"A book that needs to find its way into school libraries all over Canada, to ensure all readers know they have the right to play and enjoy sports."


Storytime with Stephanie

"Will appeal to kids participating in sports at all levels."


Canadian Children's Book Centre Book News

This compilation of stories of suffering and success follow some of Canada's LGBTQ+ athletes as they strive to do their best and compete while also struggling with being true to themselves.


Canadian Teacher Magazine

"Sure to be a hit with young readers interested in sports, LGBTQ+ history (and the present), and biographies."


CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"A powerful reminder that change is possible and the world of sports can indeed move forward to become more accepting and supportive of LGBTQ+ people."


CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"An engaging read."


Canadian Children's Book Centre Book News

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