CHAPEL HILL – UNC is participating in the You Can Play Project – it’s a national video campaign that shares a message of acceptance for LGBTQ student athletes.

“We think it’s really important that people feel comfortable and feel free to be themselves. We don’t want them to fear that they are gay or lesbian. We don’t want them to fear that they won’t feel accepted on their teams,” said UNC Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development—Cricket Lane.

Universities like Duke, Miami and UCLA have already produced content for the project.

Lane and Terry Phoenix, the Director UNC LGBTQ Center, have also worked together to educate student athletes, coaches, and staff about the importance of creating a safe atmosphere for LGBTQ student athletes.

Lane says a number of students athletes have been out while playing their sports.

“We wanted to make sure that every student athletes feels that way—that they can come out,” she said. “We want to have the foundation set that athletes can be themselves with out be made to feel inferior or in-fear.”

UNC athletics got involved in a similar project in 2012, called “It Gets Better.” They produced a YouTube video featuring UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham and student athletes promoting anti-bullying and suicide prevention for LGBTQ teens.

Students and staff are in the planning stages for the video. Lane says they hope to have it finished by the end of the summer. It will be featured on the You Can Play website.